Thursday, January 8, 2009
NIGERIA, WHAT A HELMET?
The thing wrong with this picture is that the motorcycle (popularly called Okada) rider in blue T-shirt, has an available helmet which he could have worn but choose otherwise. Instead, he decided to make a statement of either defiance or stupidity with an improvised empty container or bucket of possibly used paint as his preferred helmet. Very visible on the front-end of the motorcycle between the two bar-handles is an orange-colored helmet which he ignored to wear, but instead chose to dramatize the new helmet-law in Nigeria with his strange-looking plastic bucket! This is one example why Nigeria is ungovernable as people do not usually obey laws but most times, choose to make mockery of them. What stops this mallam, pictured in Ijeshatedo area of Lagos, from simply throwing his helmet on his head instead of the plastic bucket he is wearing; and knowing fully well that the helmet-law is meant to cut down on his losses in event of an accident? The tragedy of this picture is that some policemen who are supposed to enforce the helmet-law, possibly saw this motorcyclist with his bucket-helmet driving around the Itire council area of Lagos State without arresting him. Icheoku says, they were all possibly, smiling and making jokes about the new "foreign/homegrown" helmet? Icheoku says, such conduct as displayed by this motor-cyclist is not laughable and should not be condoned by anyone. In as much as it elicits laughter, being so hilarious, the rider is apparently making a mockery of the new helmet-law and should have been stopped cold. He should in addition, be made to take full responsibility for his action, as he broke an existing law of the land and ordered to pay a very steep fine/penalty as a deterrent. The term deterrent is what is missing in Nigeria's law enforcement lexicon, otherwise all these in-fractures of existing laws would not exist. On the new helmet-law however, Icheoku says, it is a welcome step towards mitigating motorcycle-accident victim's losses. Helmet saves lives as it protects the head upon contact with the pavement. Icheoku's one other concern is the possible transmission of head-lice (pediculus humanus capitis), dandruff, ticks, odour, eczema and other head-hair and skin contagious diseases from one passenger to another through sharing of one helmet. The African sun could be so intense and easily heats up the human-body including the head-hair; thus makes head-lice very uncomfortable that they become so agitated and jumpy and could easily stick unto a helmet waiting to be transferred to the next passenger's hair. If every passenger is to share one helmet, shouldn't be a requirement also that some disinfectants be sprayed in the helmet before the next rider's use? Whatever happens, Icheoku says, riding "OKADA" with a plastic rubberised empty bucket "helmet" is not COOOOOOOOOL!