The alleged corrupt acts of police officers like the suspended Commander of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of
Police, Abba Kyari, are going to further batter the already dwindling image of the Nigeria Police Force if the needed reform doesn’t happen, writes JESUSEGUN ALAGBE
When the phrase, ‘He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon,’ originated in 14th century England, people at the time reportedly had a real and everyday fear of the devil, who was believed to be a tangible physical entity capable of corrupting and tricking humans into wicked ways.
The first form of the proverb was first found in ‘The Squire’s Tale,’ a 1390 book written by Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet and author who lived from 1340-1400.
In his book, Chaucer wrote, ‘Therfore bihoveth hire a ful long spoon that shal ete with a feend,’ which was later translated to, ‘It well behoves him to take a lengthy spoon who eats with devils.’
The expression was also in common use in the 16th century – for example, in ‘The Tempest,’ a play by English playwright William Shakespeare.
In the play, Stephano, a boisterous and often drunk butler of King Alonso, said of character Caliban, ‘This is a devil, and no monster; I will leave him; I have no long spoon.”
Today, the proverbial saying suggests that if at all someone wants to have dealings with corrupt people, they should be cautious when doing so, or else they may be corrupted into the wicked people’s evil ways.
Emphatically, the proverb is considered to be a cautionary warning against being in friendship with corrupt persons.
The expression comes to mind in light of the recent corruption allegations against Abba Kyari, a celebrated police officer and suspended leader of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of Police.