By Yusuf Ganiyu Olaniran – Black Maria is a vehicle used in conveying sometimes hardened criminals or suspects to police stations, courts prisons and so on.Permitt me to say that it is only in Nigeria, that this type of vehicle is used for all and sundry irrespective of the nature of the offence committed or law violated. It is worthy to note that, nobody can be called a criminal except if that person has been tried and pronounced guilty by the presiding judge, thereafter the accused becomes a criminal. In Lagos state, south west Nigeria, is where I was born and graduated to adulthood. This is the state(Lagos) that is having the most performing governor and this is where people of less privileged who are engaged in petty trading are being kicked into black maria.You may want to ask that what is the offence of the black Maria passengers? Their offence(s) is/are always violation of environmtal laws such as hawking, raiding along the highway and so on. No one is saying the so-called offenders are not guilty as might have been charged.But; there should be some elements humane handling of the people.
Historically, in the early 80s,under the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari,several Nigerians were clamped into black maria by police. The citizens in this vehicle were abandoned and suffocated to death.
The executive governor of Lagos state, Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is in good books of most people, not only in the state, where he is holding sway as number one citizen, but in the most part of the country. The SAN in bracket means ‘senior advocate of Nigeria’. This title connotes, that governor Raji Fashola is a senior ‘learned colleague’ as far as Nigerian lawyers are concerned.
If people are being accused of violating the fundamental rights of the citizens, his excellency the governor of Lagos state, south-west Nigeria Babatunde Raji Fashola is a culprit. If not for anything, for allowing the people he claims to be governing to be maltreated, and rough-handled and above all packaged in a black Maria.
According to verifiable evidence, most offenders’ poor, cannot afford to the exorbitant fees that are charged for shop or stall renting. They can be disturbed, caution chased away from the concerned areas. It is inhuman to handle fellow beings this way The earlier this condemnable act is addressed the better.