LICENSED TO STEAL
Ogunjimi James Taiwo
“People with integrity are those whose words match their deeds and whose behaviors mirror their values” – Stephen Covey
We have all heard of robbers being apprehended and sentenced to jail, or if unlucky, lynched to death by angry mob. What we haven’t taken into consideration however is the question of, Who are robbers?
I have come to realise that there are robbers and there are Robbers. We have robbers who wield guns, matchets and clubs, and we have robbers whose only weapon is the pen. Robbers who wield guns steal our money by forcefully taking it from us, but we are at least aware it has been stolen. These robbers don’t steal up to what the pen robbers steal, but when caught they earn more jail terms and public ridicule than the pen robbers. The pen robberson the other hand steal our money without our knowledge, and when/if they are caught, they earn less public ridicule and less jail term. They also steal more than the gun robbers. Have we ever stopped to ask why? The answer isn’t far-fetched, while the gun robbers operate on their own, the pen robbers have license; they are licensed to steal.
It is no more news that people in government are protected by certain laws that shield them from being prosecuted while in power. It is also a known fact that people holding public offices can steal and yet when they are caught, they can enter into plea bargaining to release part of what they stole and hold on to the rest. Have you ever wondered why pen robbers enjoy plea bargaining while gun robbers have absolutely no rights? The answer is simple, Pen robbers are licensed thieves while gun robbers have no license.
One of the greatest misdeed ever done to this great nation of ours is that thieves are the ones making laws for us. When the pen robbers make laws, they’ll make laws that will protect them when they are caught.
If this nation is to progress, people need to start asking questions as to how our money is being spent. Nigerians need to demand their inclusion into every decision-making process. If ordinary Nigerians can be trusted to vote-in the right candidates in elections, should their ability to accept or reject laws be brought into question?
Laws that favor a certain class against the others should be rejected in its entirety. If pen robbers will be allowed to enter plea bargaining after being caught, the gun robbers should be entitled to the same. If pen robbers can be bailed out of jail after being caught, the gun robbers too should be entitled to the same privilege. If gun robbers will be shot or tied to the stake and burnt, then the pen robbers should suffer the same fate. Until we begin to demand for absolutely no favoritism in the discharge of justice, we will continue to tread the path of ruin. Let’s start asking questions, and we’ll be amazed at the answers we’ll get.
Ogunjimi James Taiwo