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 D-General, NDLEA and Perceptual Distortion

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By Mahmud Isa Yola

Apparently, There are people who are hell-bent on peddling a false binary on the arrest of popular skit maker D-General by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in the wee hours of Wednesday in Lagos.

It all began when a video surfaced on Instagram, apparently recorded in D-General’s residence showing him, operatives of the NDLEA and some other people having a tense argument. The video exponentially went viral and immediately there were people nasceintly calling out on the Agency. 

Then the NDLEA debuted their side of the story. According to the agency, operatives acting on credible intelligence stormed a drug joint in Orchid Estate in Lekki area of Lagos state and arrested three suspects with illicit drugs including 200 sachets of 225mg Tramadol and 1.5kilograms of cannabis sativa.

The press release reads: “In the course of the operation, some persons including the suspected dealer ran away with bags suspected to contain exhibits. A trail showed they ran into a house located at 2B Saula Akinlolu way, Orchid estate, which is the residence of   22-year-old Sunday Joshua (aka D-General). The young men started to make noise to prevent a search. The operatives introduced themselves as officers of NDLEA and submitted themselves for search before entry. This was done and a search was conducted.

“The search led to the recovery of drug exhibits including cannabis sativa; Tramadol 225mg, and some paraphernalia for drug use. This was after the suspect had requested to record on video the search, which the officers out of sense of civility allowed. The video trending on social media was the moment the suspect and his friends decided to disrupt the bid to conduct a search of the house. In his confessional statement in custody, the suspect admitted ownership of the drugs recovered from his house.”

The NDLEA statement contains all of the facts that were left out of the video. Like the fact that suspects sought refuge in General’s house ostensibly because it was close to their station; the fact that D-General was in possession of illicit drugs; the fact that the controversial video was recorded with the permission of the NDLEA, who out of civility also submitted themselves to a search before searching the house; the fact that the young men in the house tried to obstruct the search; and, most importantly, the fact that the suspects admitted ownership of the drugs recovered from the house.

The video generated unwarranted vituperations from people who have already taken the suspects side. They felt compelled to castigate the authorities simply because someone they know/follow is involved. Before the NDLEA’s statement, they enjoyed the spectacle of the spiral of silence and they drew out all sorts of excuses on behalf of the suspect. 

Then the NDLEA laid down the facts. Normally, that should have exhorted any right-thinkin individual to refrain from defending the arrested suspects, alas, to some people, the NDLEA shouldn’t have arrested D-General. They closed their eyes on all the details and intentionally chose to dwell only on the biases that reinforces their preconceived perception.

This group of people rushed to social media to make rude, reproachful, and caustic posts blaming the NDLEA for everything. Their blatantly ridiculous arguments are merely a stinging indictment on their objectivity on the topic at hand. They have formed their own subjective presumptions and will not change their minds even if all the facts are supplied to them.

The arrest, or the NDLEA’s method of operation, is not the basic basis for this unjustified fury. It’s because a specific man has been implicated, and those protecting him argue that he should be immune to prosecution. In other words, when it comes to crime and criminality, public personalities should be given preferential treatment. That is a doomed fantasy. No civilization in the world, and certainly not Nigeria’s, should tolerate the sale of illegal substances. No amount of ranting could reconfigure the system to favour anyone’s candidate. Offenders must face must face the consequences of their action.

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