“Big-man syndrome”, in Nigerian parlance, is a multifaceted social disorder which makes an individual feel ‘above the law’, and pushes him/her to engage in activities that may even run contrary to established protocol or civil ordinances.
This behavioral anomaly can push its victims to be discourteous, or rude to those considered as ‘low status individuals’, and in extreme cases, physical violence may ensue, as was the case between Nigeria’s federal legislator, Hon. Chinyere Emmanuel Igwe (photo), who slapped a ‘lowly’ security guard attached to the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
What was the guard’s offense? He asked Igwe, the Vice Chairman of Human Rights committee at the House of Representatives, to identify himself before entering the assembly complex!
The security guard thought he was just doing his job, but to a “big-man” like the Honorable, he was “disrespecting” him.
Should the security guard press charges, this is a clear case of assault — with criminal and civil legal implications. Unfortunately the Nigerian justice department is grossly dysfunctional
Under a functional system, the security guard just hit jackpot if he takes the option to file a civil case against the legislator. To prevent the ensuing publicity, the Honorable would have opted to settle out of court and pay off the victim.
And not only that, the legislator may even lose his seat, or at the very least, his position at the House’s Human Rights committee. He most certainly does not belong there!