Many people have scoffed at the mundane-looking hand-held security gadget used to search them as they enter a building. “This rugged device doesn’t do anything. It just beeps for nothing “, they say.

I shared the same sentiments till I had a chance meeting with a top security official who used a promise of grievous harm to remain anonymous. He, in hushed tones, let me in on the gadget’s secrets. “The real reason security personnel don’t do much to check you as you enter a building is because of how powerful this device is,” he said, pointing at the gadget.

“It isn’t because they are lazy, incompetent or both. I tell you young man, (now assuming an air of importance), the probrem (sic) with young men these days is they don’t respect anything that’s not connected to the internet.” I nod sagely to spur him on.

“When the security man uses it on you, with one wave, it’s recorded everything we need to know, even your tribe.” I think of leaving now but he has a weapon and he’s still talking.

“It tells us whether you’ve tried to disembark without paying for a taxi ride. It shows whether you drunk your buddy’s beer when he wasn’t looking. We can tell the average time you go to bed. We know whether you start arguments for no reason.” He sips his drink.

“It shows us how many times you used the word dead in the last two weeks, like, ‘LOL, dead!’”

He lowers his voice even more, “I tell you, this thing (waving it for emphasis) can tell us which political party you support. It turns green to show your loyalty to DP. And then amber for NRM. That’s why when we hear you make certain statements, we aren’t surprised.”

At this point I feel confident enough that he won’t use his weapon so I jump in, “But afande, I’ve never seen it turn light blue. How do you know FDC supporters?”

“You people of books that’s your probrem (sic), always with many questions. Now what kind of question is that?” I shift in my seat, waiting for a distraction so I can sneak off. He seems to wait with me.

None is forthcoming. He continues, “From putting all these together, we get a good picture of your proclivity for criminal activity. When that guard lets you walk in, he knows exactly what he’s doing. That talk that we rely solely on God’s protection is a lie”

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