BANKS ON ROADS

By: Adekunle Adewunmi

Prior to this age, virtues such as sanctity, honesty, contentment and uncoveteousness were the order of the day. Scarcely did reports fly of theft. No ears heard for long the cry of inconvenience from the struggling masses. All appeared like it was well!

Banks are known to be registered with the Central Bank before any operation can begin. The management also recruits different staffs in order to make transactions an easy-to-do job for the benefit of both parties. But, deposits are not only made, cash withdrawals are also part of the transactions possible at banks. Simply put, deposits and withdrawals are allowed in banks. Suffice is to say here that the people don’t deposit in banks by being coerced.

Nowadays however, unofficial banks are being mounted and operated on the highways which birth the illegal collection of money, forcefully deposited to these unofficial bank operators without a strain of empathyfor the state of the pockets they hijack. This brash phenomenon ushers in a sigh of painful enquiries. Why have they chosen to fool us? Who are they even fooling? Those who make life not worth living and inconvenient to their fellow humans keep spitting untrue words at us that they are friends of the citizenry.

Alas, Nigerians are now enlightened, the dark ages are over, the light has come!

Governments emerge, their time elapse, yet, there’s nothing to show for the many years of their stewardship. All centers on the looting of state treasury, which involves squandering of national funds, only to leave the hopeless electorate in a sorry state of reproach. As if that isn’t enough, human-banks are now being mounted at roads where they are fearfully beheld askings of the terrain in which they become unquestionable beasts that devour anyone who fails to ‘cooperate’ and tender daily deposits into their sacred pouches. Some have evengone from collecting daily deposits to levying dues per hour.

This act has gone rampant to the extent that the ordinary man’s business will almost always encounter rude disruption by these armed men. On the sight of a vehicle loaded with food, things fall apart within their skulls; and all schemes veer towards hijacking the burdened hulk from its navigator, even if it hasn’t been smuggled in from another country.

Those Forces in khaki and black clothes, who are instructed to safeguard the properties and lives have been found, countless times, exploiting and endangering the very properties and lives they were sworn to protect. Safety of the masses is now in the hands of bullies who, of course, strangle the people’s way of survival for their selfish gains. The salaries and allowances being paid them by the government for their works are being kept only to keep extorting the ordinary drivers on the highways; individuals who have chosen to find succour in the stressful jobsthey have taken as a profession.

Many of these drivers, who are the victims of callous highway extortions, go into commercial driving because they want nothing but the best for their families; their children in particular. Some of them overwork themselves even till midnight in order to pay the tuition fees of their children in higher institutions. Still, some locusts would seem to appear from the mirage and cut their monies short. It is possible that, by the ripple effect of such a condition, much mishap is caused. Some children of these commercial drivers might even end up being dropped from school due to not meeting up their payment deadlines.

A voyage to a town in Oyo State, Igbo-Ora to be precise, which is known to be the land most populated with twins revealed the ordeals commercial vehicles drivers go through when they set out for their daily businesses and the level of unnecessary pains inflicted daily on them by these road-bankers. It was so astonishing but head-aching to find the Forces at road sides almost within a two-minute drive interval, demanding for daily deposits otherwise known as “rabba or bribe”. Any commercial driver who tries to argue with them may meet his waterloo and get roped with different offenses that cannot be found in the statute of vehicle movement. The predatory logic is that by the time they cause passengers to be delayed and complaints spill from the driver’s customers, he’ll be forced to pay even more than he would have paid if he had not struggled with the Forces.

A personal encounter with one of the commercial drivers who makes his daily living on the route further exposed the high rate of wickedness leveled against them on a daily basis. He posited that if he was opportune to own any charm, he would have used it on “those wicked government security officials” because he often returns home at night from the day’s toil with almost nothing to show for the sweat due to the problem faced with the soldiers and policemen.

Without mincing words, this shows frustration, pain, and anger, which may result in rebellion and trouble against the Forces if the government does not find a lasting solution to halt the evil activities of these thieves.

Apparently, they operate this way almost everywhere since they believe they can’t be checkmated by anyone. Little surprise is to hear that these Forces build gigantic edifices and live big. President Muhammadu Buhari should try to start looking into the bank accounts of individual Force members so as to see clearly the billions of naira they have therein stolen and forcefully collected from struggling drivers.

Banks mounted on roads should hereby be destroyed so that sanity, freedom, and welfare should become the order of the day!

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