Sometime last year, I arrived in Lagos for an event and there was bad traffic from the airport as roads were being constructed. It was also raining heavily and the driver decided to do a detour that made us somehow end up in Bariga.
We were at an intersection without functioning traffic lights, but there was this traffic policeman was working hard to organize things despite the rainfall. Without him, we would have been there for hours and become sitting ducks to robbers. There were many such cases reported.
I still remember that policeman doing the thankless job at almost 7 pm that evening. He didn't have any supervisors breathing down his neck, he was just doing his job. That same evening, we ran into SARS operatives at Ligali Ayorinde on the way to my hotel. Same Police Force.
The SARS guys were not helping reduce traffic congestion but profiting from it. They stopped a number of people before us and for some reason, they let us go. I was thinking a lot that day about the contrast between the helpful traffic policeman and the arrogant SARS guys.
What makes one person helpful and another a predator? The answer was ”weapons.” Without the guns and high-handedness, the SARS operatives will be ignored on Nigerian streets. The true problem is with people who weaponized them for a reason and let them go rogue.
All of this SWAT talk is still focussing on weapons. We have not learned from the past. People at the top are probably making money from these weapons supplies and that is why there is a perverse incentive for SARS to use them. It is a cycle that never stops.
Cut off the weapons supplies to police and we will have peace. Having too many assault rifles on our streets has a consequence and the consequence is SARS.

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More from @asemota

19 Oct
Nothing has helped to shatter the myth of creative genius than the quote ”good artists borrow, great artists steal” which is widely attributed to Pablo Picaso but it also disputed that he said it. The quote really refers to the learning process people must go through to be great.
Nobody is 100% self-created or self-taught. You depend on what has been discovered or learned before or else you are not truly very smart. The ability to cut through complexity by discovering prior paths and patterns is what also creates great people and also leaders.
Sometimes, people discover new paths previously unknown but if you check, they still, however, depend a lot on the wisdom of crowds or community. I was listening to a podcast over the weekend about the latest winners of the Nobel in Economics who taught other previous winners.
Read 7 tweets
18 Oct
An American friend reading my tweets and retweets about #EndSARS said ”she didn't realize there was so much violence in everyday Nigerian society.” I told her it was not just violence but injustice sustained by violence. Nigeria is a very unjust and deeply divided place. No unity
My friend from Israel came and was wondering why he needed police protection when they should be protecting others from him? He quickly learned why. You can easily become a sitting duck for 4 hours in a place with massive uncertainty. Those who can afford it then buy protection.
Buying protection from government agencies by the wealthy and multinationals just to be able to function, skews incentives in those agencies. I still can't wrap my head around 150,000 armed people in VIP protection detail. Where does the extra money paid for most of that go into?
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
In a volatile market where sell-offs happen almost every weekend, buy early on Monday, take profit on Wednesday. Forget all that long talk of being an investor and not a trader. In public markets, do both. Doubled my profits just by doing that. Reading the book ”Range” helped me.
I was reading about how Kasparov discovered that machines are very good at tactical chess but not longer-term strategy. The best combo being man and machine. I now let the machine do what they do with ETFs then I watch the trends.
I have outperformed my ETFs.
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
In strategy, you try to also anticipate moves. What would the Nigerian government do?

The current regime is at its weakest position economically and politically but still capable of massive wickedness.

They have tried violence and there have been deaths. I fear the next stage
Martial Law and a declaration of a state of emergency in places like Lagos and PH are possible. In their minds they have done the best they can do. A name change and some whitewashing. It shows how much out of touch they are.
Curfews are inevitable at this stage and they will lead to more violence by empowering the same police that we are complaining about.
Read 6 tweets
9 Oct
@WalleLawal⁩ made a point today about learning from history. This is history:

”The students of UNIBEN were the first to take to the streets on May 24. The fire spread across the country with campuses as its torch bearers.”

The 1989 Anti-SAP Revolt…
Much more people died than were reported.

A policeman who was living in my late uncle’s BQ at Alausa boasted of personally killing 10 people from Oshodi bridge as ordered by his DPO. He said they killed at least 100 that day.
It was a brutal repression by the military regime. Even some of one policemen were tired of it and turned around to start helping the protesters. It was much worse than anything I have ever seen in my life. The entire nation was shut down. It was like a war.
Read 13 tweets
9 Oct
Tempers are high now over this SARS matter in Lagos.
Everyone is looking for an opportunity to vent. After all the venting must come the solution.

1. Government believes they have provided a solution.
2. People don't believe the government.
3. Police are still shooting.


It is about who has power in the end. Venting is a reaction when powerless. Elections are far away and even during the elections, the same policemen help in stealing it for those who give them the power to be violent towards people. Power is the monopoly of violence.
When @JoeyAkan wrote earlier that if we aren't careful, the hunter will become the hunted, he was right. He actually spoke to a SARS operative who openly told them that they had no regard for anyone. I started wondering, where do police get their weapons? Who supplies them?
Read 11 tweets

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