I am certain Nigerians active on social media must have heard about the police PR person who is living in an alternate Nigeria; the one where policemen are good, responsible and upright citizens. If anyone should try to bring him down from Mars, he abuses then proceeds to block them.
I was in a bus at Costain; it was early Sunday evening. People were in their homes so it took a while for the bus to fill up.
Driver kept doing that annoying thing Lagos drivers do – drive one small, wait 15 minutes, then when people attempt to get down, drive another 3 feet.
So there he was doing that trying to wait for passengers when suddenly conductor jumps inside the bus and tells the driver to “move fast, na that police wey break my head that day dey come,” and fiam they were off. It’s funny se?
Because people began to laugh in the bus. “E good for una. una go park anywhere they cause go slow” one man said.
I know Lagos bus drivers and conductors are (slightly) insane people but is this enough reason for a policeman to assault them like that? See the things we have accepted as norm in this country.
On my way to work the other day, the bus I was on stopped to drop someone in a place they’ve been asked not to stop so as to allow traffic flow. A police patrol van sighted the bus, but before they could ‘catch’ him, the bus driver wiggled out of their reach. Instead of the policemen to get his plate numbers for later, or however it is they catch these offending drivers, one policeman used his baton to break the side mirror on the passenger side. Guess who was sitting in front besides the driver? Yes, me. I was covered in broken glass. I didn’t even realize I was bleeding from small cuts all over my body until I got to the office and removed my blouse in the bathroom. It was a colleague who helped remove tiny bits of glass from my blouse, brush away glass from my hair. I was too tired to be angry, so I laughed as I explained to the colleague what happened.
“Hmm thank God o,” she said “what if glass had entered your eyes?” That was when I sobered up. I hadn’t thought of that. What if a splinter of glass had entered my eyes? Who would have been held responsible? It wasn’t until I got home and had a shower that I realised the full extent of the small cuts all over my body.
I am convinced it is because of this column I write that I have become magnet for Lagos drama. A few weeks before the glass incident, I was on my way to see a friend in the hospital at night. Policemen in Victoria Island stopped the taxi I was in.
Give us something for the weekend they told the taxi driver.
They didn’t even pretend to ask for licence or any other thing. The policeman that stopped us was slurring, his eyes red, he was so drunk. This man had a gun. The Uber driver was unfazed, he stood his ground and refused to give them any money. I was the scared party. I kept thinking this man is drunk, he is holding a gun, with each “I no get anything” the Uber driver said, this man got angrier.
After some minutes passed and things were beginning to escalate, I opened my purse and gave them the lowest denomination I had.
“Why you give am money?” the Uber driver queried later “You for no give them anything.”
I didn’t reply him. At the end of the trip I had the mind to give him 1 star, but he was kind enough to wait until my friend opened the gate for me. It was quite late.
If you ask Nigerians to share their police experiences, you will get the same and similar stories from all over the country, but you see these ones in Lagos? Special breed.
But on social media however, the police is your friend, road blocks have been banned and bail is free.