“You are under arrest for sexing in a public place.”
“You are my fiancée, your birthday is January 1, mine is December 1. You have no siblings and I have none too. What’s your surname?” I asked Omo as I made to get out
“Omokhodion” she said and I squeezed her hand.
I pushed open the door and stepped out.
“Good evening officer,” I said approaching him.
“Stop there and put your hands up,” he barked. He was reeking of alcohol and must have come over to take a piss when he saw us. The Martell cognac I had been drinking was now a distant memory.
“My hands up?” I asked and he nodded, reaching for his rifle.
“Officer e never reach dat one,” I said switching to pidgin.
“Sexing in a public place is an offence. You are constituting public nuisance,” he said swaying.
“We are sorry officer,” I told him.
Word of advice: no matter how poorly educated a Nigerian policeman is, don’t let them quote the law for you. They can mess you up and it doesn’t matter whether they are wrong or right.
“Officer, my fiancée is travelling tomorrow and I am just saying good bye,” I explained my hands still in the air.
“You are telling her good bye for public place abi? That is a serious offence,” he told me and as I thought of what to say, he reached for his walkie talkie.
“Please send the van. I am at the south end of the car park. Two people are under arrest for public lewdness and nuisance. Over.”
As I heard the crackle of static I knew that I had to sort him out before the van got there or else the story wouldn’t end well.
“Officer, take am easy abeg. Just see us as your younger brother and sister,”
“Sharrap my friend. My younger sister cannot be prostituting herself in a car park. You will explain yourself at the station.”
I was opening my mouth to speak when I heard the van drive up and two other officers came out.
An officer and a corporal joined us.
“Morn’ sah. I catch this man and the woman sexing in a public place,” he said with a salute.
“Officer, I can…” I began but he cut me off with a quick “sharrap up, mister man.”
Then peering into the car the officer said “Young woman, come out here.”
Omo stepped out, her knees shaking, tears streaming down her face.
“Why are you having intercourse in a public space?” he asked unimpressed by her tears.
“We did not have intercourse sir, he was just kissing me good…” Omo began but he cut her off.
“Hold it, are you calling the Sergeant a liar?”
“No, sir” she said and sniffled.
“Who is this man to you?”
“He is my fiancé” Omo said bawling now.
“He is not your customer?”
“No sir,” she cried.
“And what is his name?” the officer asked ignoring her cries.
“Where does he work?” he asked and she told him.
He took her aside and asked a few more questions then he came back and asked for my ID card. I was glad to fetch it for him because I finally had an opportunity to put my hands down.
He looked at my ID, peered at my face, looked at Omo then whispered into my ears.
“When is your birthday?”
“January 1” I said.
“What did you say,” he barked and I realised I had mixed it up.
“Sorry officer. I thought you said her birthday. My birthday is December 1.”
He looked at me for a while then he puffed out his chest and said “Get out of my sight.”
Omo pushed me away as I tried to hug her, then her hand shaking, she turned on the ignition and pulled off.
Tears of relief blurred my vision as I watched her tail lights recede.