The Police is Your Friend.
I don’t think any Nigerian believes that statement, especially the young Nigerians. I mean as a child I did believe it. I thought anytime I saw the police beating people up, I thought to myself the person probably committed a crime, or when they are forcefully carting another person, I thought ”oh that must be a criminal”. As I grew older, I realized all is not as it seems when I began to have brushes with the police. As a child, growing up where I grew up, when you saw the police you felt safe, you felt secure, unless you are stubborn at home and your parents threaten to take you to them then you cry, and wail and kick and probably shit your pants.
But as you grow older, when you see the police, that reassuring feeling of safety gives way to a feeling of vulnerability, you feel exposed and threatened, you feel like a prey. An uneasy feeling takes over you, not because you are in the middle of committing a crime or are a criminal but because you are uncertain about the prospects.
The policeman may be having a bad day and one look, one flimsy eye contact and he is going to take it out on you.
”Why you dey look me? Come here, why you dey look me like that? I’m suspecting you, you must be a criminal. Come here let me search you.”
He proceeds to searching you, asks a plethora of questions that stupefies you, and if you try to be a smart ass and ask some questions of your own back, my brother you go chop slap and probably end up in a holding cell for the night.
‘’Police is your friend’’
Its hard to relate to those words sitting behind a police counter, after the grisly experience you just had, stripped of all pride and ego(sometimes your clothes too), those words become mere inscriptions. If your REAL friends and family are not there on time to pay the outrageous bail money ,which is usually set at the discretion of the arresting officer(s) Even when :
‘’Bail Is Free’’
Screams at you next to it, is the false assertion ‘’The police is your friend’’ how can two white lies be written next to each other In a Police Station nau? Nobody sees the irony here? Give us time to recover from the initial shock upon discovering you are not our friend.
You are thrown into the police holding cell to further trample on your already deflated ego if the ”bail conditions” are not met. Your are branded a criminal, you have been arrested, tried and punished by them for just one flimsy eye movement.
”Wey that criminal? Come write your statement.”
One can’t even drive alone or with friends around the many illegal checkpoints scattered all over the place, My guys in Surulere and Festac in Lagos. Woji, Elelenwo, Rumumasi, Mile 1, Mile 2 and Mile 3 Diobu in Port-Harcourt know what I’m saying. I’m sure its not just in these places mentioned.
Stop there, oya park, park. wey your paper? wey your ”draven” licence?
You are stopped and the car thoroughly searched, papers are checked, questions are asked and if you are faulted (which is almost every time). They delay you, make you beg, play god, threaten you, try to extort you and if you try to stand up for yourself and question their actions and methods, the fate of the guy that looked at them wrong might be your fate too.
You wan teach me this work? Na your papa give me this work abi? I go slap you now.
Sometimes its a hollow threat, other times the promise is delivered mid-sentence. Intimidation is the biggest weapon in their arsenal next to that is the rifle they carry.
I don’t understand why they are prejudiced towards the Nigerian youth; like we don’t have enough problems already? Our politicians are stealing our future, our economy is a joke, and there are no jobs, everything is expensive NEPA (or whatever their acronym is now) dont even interrupt power anymore,you can’t interrupt whats not there. Una go still bring una own join, una wan kill us? We should be angry at the same people.
This is not to vilify the entire police force, there are still some good Policemen. This is to caution the erring ones who are supposed to be our friends
I will share some of my funny and serious encounters with the police.