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Learned Humility

October 2, 2016

The Holy Book says that knowledge puffs up. However, knowledge also appears to be a cure for pride.

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I met a middle level Police woman recently. Through her, I’ve met about 6 other Police officers (Nigerian Police) who are admirable, respectable, well-comported, and forward-looking. It felt unbelievable.

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One of them has read “all the books.” In fact, the next time I see him, I’m going to confirm that we have the same mentor. One is a knowledgeable lawyer. Another is young and beautiful, with nice make-up. One is gallant; he successfully single-handedly put armed robbers to flight after his colleagues fled the heat!

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When I could stomach the glaring disparity anymore, I asked why there was so much humility and friendliness at this level of the Police force as against the abrasion one normally experiences with the Police generality.
Without batting an eyelid, my friend replied, “Knowledge!”
“Knowledge? How?”

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She pointed out that those officers we generally encounter and dislike are usually the most junior in the force and that they have been told how much powers they have as representatives of the Government. The knowledge of this power puffs them up and makes them abrasive.

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However, at her level, they have come to realise that the greater part of life is outside the uniform. Hence, though they are probably more aware of the authority of a Police officer, they have learnt to be first a man or woman, then a Police officer.

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In corroboration, one of her colleagues told of a trip he needed to make for the burial of his dad. Unfortunately, his car could not do the long distance. However, a new civilian friend lent him a car for the trip. He prides himself in the fact that he has never tortured anyone in his long career–not even those he charged to court. He says that everyone cooperates when treated with respect.

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Well, that’s the lesson: more knowledge reveals our ignorance and weakness to us–that should make us more humble.
Looking at the Nigerian Police again, reorientation is ongoing at all levels. And with what I have seen, I am hopeful!

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