There is this glass window pane at the corridor of my office building. I am sure it bears more aesthetic duties than it does for ventilation .For it is surrounded by similar glass planes of equal shapes and sizes and they were never open.
I happened to push one of them open sometime ago, and that spot has become my best friend ever since. This is where my lunch hours are spent. It was never spent having any sort of lunch. I would through this window watch a great mass of humans going about their daily lives. For my chosen vintage point is at the 3rd floor and hence commands a great view. Yesterday during lunch, I kept my usual rendezvous with nobody. To break the monotony of official work.
In truth, the routine of daily life exhausts me. You would imagine that just staring out of a window and staring particularly at nothing seemingly out of normal is as boring as the avoided routine.
I assure you, nothing is as entertaining as just watching people and nothing is as thrilling as observing different patterns of humanness which the human mass in Lekki Lagos so plentifully presents. A town spilling with fat affluence, ubberrich population , glowing glamour and yet, in the same cluster exists confusing specimens of severe poverty.
The rent suggests they cannot possibly be residents within but the number of idle crowd going nowhere and dressed exactly like it protests every idea in that suggestion. But there is a consensus which was reached between my common sense and sense of observation.They agreed that these people have come to Rome, so therefore they are behaving like Romans. Hopefully they will be treated like Romans and by extension benefit from whatever exists in Rome, be it financially, socially and equally the pretence of high imaginary civilization which Lekki residents pitifully attempt in their social expressions. For each class of social existence brings along its own peculiar awkward extremities. One of such odious fancy is opting for a 2000 Naira cab when a ten minutes’ walk or 50 Naira bus would have done equal justice.
Alas such social vanities are seldom the problem of men on 300naira a day feeding budget. That luxury is only as free as 500 Naira a day can afford. Just like an angry dog reaching out for something but meets the end of her hemen rope, frustration can be justified. Thus, when the other class furiously pull at their financial tether, trying to reach an abundance that is never to come. Frustration becomes justified. They hardly need second invitation to show this. One of such sole invitations came yesterday and it was accepted with cheers.
Against the usual norm, from my viewing point, I observed many rustics were looking in one direction with unhidden excitement. Something must be up I imagined. My imaginations didn’t need to wander far before my sight dragged it back to reality.
A swarm of angry faced citizens marching forward. In front was a huge dark man who is closer forty than thirty. It is hard to make any meaningful description for his face was bloody, twisted with pain and anguish, his eyes blood shot, his whiskers clinging together from blood cloth.
The blood cloth on his bears implied that his torture has been at least 2 hours long for the ones on his face were from freshly inflicted wounds. Forward he staggered and from every quarter he received violence.
Even without tyres making an early appearance, the particulars were complete; the impression of a nabbed thief slowly receiving the enforcement of jungle justice was complete. For all the things I imagined will be going on in his bruised head, when he will finally meet his end will surely be the most consistent thought. How he will meet it gets clearer by the second and if he will meet it is out of the question. For even from my elevated point, I was convinced that in a short while, I will soon be standing in the presence of tragedy.
It was the other class protesting against civilization with every step. Blows were struck, each followed by another more savage. Weapons started making their debuts. In an instant, interlock bricks were swiftly lifted and fired with devilish intent at the victim. Stones originally placed to make paths now look very handy as if they were placed for this sole murderous purpose.
Interlocks were glued with cement to each other but any each point where the assaulters were in need of causing real damage, there must be one of such beautiful bricks isolated from others for easy picking. Even the rail bars which were meant to protect pedestrians from the highway now suddenly looked like a long blunt knife. For there was a broken one which went stray from others, this in the eyes of one of the would be murderers can effect genuine laceration. This he did with great force which forced the unfortunate fellow to slump.
I rushed downstairs, I didn’t exactly have a plan but I headed for the scene anyway. I did what most Nigerians will do, blow grammar instead of acting. But at least I was better than the disreputable villains whose ideas were to make videos. ‘You will kill this man, whatever he has done doesn’t warrant his death’ said I. This was largely ignored except for a man who wasn’t happy with what he heard. He was apparently the leader of blood thirsty pack. He didn’t offer any reply but at me he shot two venomous eyes which uttered more threat than his mouth could. Suddenly I realised that persistence will earn me a place in the Obituary section in tomorrow’s tabloids.
Of all ways I imagined I would die, getting clubbed to death along a thief has never made the list. A quick thought crept unto me, the police! But before I could act on that instinct the police arrived. Clearly, someone was quicker with that thought, bless his soul.
Like you know, the Nigerian police will always be heavyweights in the violence industry. Their arrival glaringly showed that the perpetrators of this act were barely armatures and were way out of their league when it comes to inflicting pain. In a quick show of strength, one of the cops knocked a couple of men out with the butt end of their rifle. He reached for the man, ordered him to get up, and followed his order with a heavy stamp on the unfortunate man’s head with his boot. As his head collided against the rough mixture of his own blood and the rock floor, more blood escaped with greater pressure. He is surely dead now, I imagined. For even before the police came, he was three parts dead. How wrong I was, for this man simply refused to die. He sprang up with a burst of new found strength, surely the last left. And it was enough to aid him to jump into the police truck which meant safety to him.
Though any doctor worth his school fees would argue that he might not make it for a long while. That is for our empathic minds to toil, for this victim’s face was beaming with gratitude. Everyone knows a criminal has a greater chance of escape in the hands of the police than in the claws or an irate mob. Our man’s happiness was in order. He wanted to put up a smile; at least he thought he was smiling. The damaged muscles on his face connived to make it look like a painful cry.
In five minutes, the Nigerian police matched whatever punishment dished by these radical residents and even eclipsed it. They embellished this service by gifting the watchers with a share of this madness. It rained slaps, it landed at random faces without reason. Yours truly would have been a beneficiary of this slap had my previous experiences not thought me to step away from police anywhere they made an appearance.
I retreated back up to my base, for I knew the defendants of the law will quickly defy it. When ‘Jungle don mature’ ,the street is the court, the mob are the lawyers, the Nigerian police is the Judge in the jungle court. The team is complete, Jungle justice is served.