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EDITORIAL

Very Important Vulture

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A media report indicates that a very important vulture is in the custody of the Police Command in Yola, Adamawa State. The bird was arrested on suspicion of being a spy for the Boko Haram terrorist group. The decision to rein in the bird arose from an earlier complaint by a community in that state that someone brought three vultures into Maiha local government area of the state and a few days later, that local government was invaded by terrorists. Presence of vulture and terrorist attack? We do not see any connection. It is on the basis of this report that all vultures, including those of them simply minding their business of finding what to eat, have become Boko Haram spies.

It is common in movies to see international spy agencies use electronics designed as birds or insects and remote-controlled as intelligence gathering facilities. Live birds are unheard of. And that is why what is going on in Yola is bound to arouse curiosity, especially as it is claimed by a source at the Police command’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that it spends a whopping N5000 (five thousand naira) daily to feed this high profile vulture. From reports, the bird has been in the custody of the Police for about four days now pending the conclusion of investigations into its alleged role as a spy for the dreaded terrorists group. What it means is that within those four days, the Police that claims to be under-funded have spent N20, 000 buying meat for a vulture that had strayed, to all intents and purposes, innocently, into its command area. This matter would have been comic if it were not unfortunate and tragic that in this day and age, a whole Police command is delving into this type of stunt.

Another angle to it borders on superstition as the resident in whose house the vulture was arrested is said to have died a few weeks ago and the people fear that he might still be manipulating the bird, which ordinarily, in some cultures, is considered as evil and its presence ominous.

In our considered opinion, a people have the right to believe whatever they choose. But bringing such believes into a matter as serious as the fight against a terrorist group tends to reduce the issue to the level of banality. The alleged owner of the vulture is dead. Who is the Police investigating? Or who will be the interpreter between the Police and the vulture?

What this vulture issue reveals is the lethargy that has started creeping into the war on terror. If a security agency as supposedly serious as the Police will have time for this side show, then it means that the nation is beginning to lose focus on what the real issue is. A serious-minded security agency confronted by a rampaging murderous gang like Boko Haram will not have time for this distraction that has everything to do with voodoo and witchcraft. It is, indeed, disturbing that in this day and age, when science and technology have answers to virtually everything, the Nigeria Police is telling the world that they have no option but to investigate this vulture matter to ascertain the truth as to what the bird is meant for.

We are worried that bandits and other criminal elements are causing mayhem across the country almost unchallenged and all the Police have time for is arresting, detaining and giving a vulture classy treatment in their cell. If the Police is looking for a way to explain certain lapses in their effort to check crime and criminality in the state, they are advised to look elsewhere and leave a harmless bird out of it.

Furthermore, we are persuaded to argue that this whole story of feeding a vulture with N5, 000 every day is incredulous and scarcely believable. It is not out of place to imagine that some smart officer in the command is using the vulture as an excuse to help himself with the fund the Police urgently need for operations. By the way, how much does a Constable earn if the Police is so rich as to splash such princely sum on a vulture just because of some weird belief.

We have similar reports of how stupendous amounts are claimed to have been spent on feeding and maintaining some personalities in government detention. These kinds of atrocious expenditures help to reinforce the speculation that the war on terror has lasted so long because it has become an industry with stakeholders who device every means to ensure that it did not end any time soon.

We call on the Police to save the country this embarrassment, let the bird go and devote their attention to the real threats to national security.

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