My name is “B” and I don’t write. I would rather enjoy what some else has written because writing takes a lot of time and mental strength, at least to me.
But I have decided to write a funny and sad experience with my friends on the Nigerian Police Force, and give tips on how not to get bullied by them ever. This is a caveat of some sort regarding the way and manner to behave when you have an encounter with the Nigerian police.
Let me tell you a story:
A few years ago, I wanted to get office shirts and pants because I needed them badly, so I told a friend of mine and he suggested I go to Suntan, I can’t remember the name, but it is located somewhere around Allen avenue. So, the next day, I wore shorts, put some money in my pocket, called a cab man and headed to Ikeja. I was seated in the front seat, chatting on my phone when I noticed that the car had slowed down considerably, I looked up and saw the driver clearing to the side, an officer in front of us, armed with a rifle, beckoning us to ‘clear’ to the side.
I put my head back down and continued chatting on my phone, because I thought “na normal thing”, they just want his license and papers, If he doesn’t have it and they hold him, I will come down and look for another cab.
LOL. I was so wrong.
No sooner had the driver, than the man with the rifle knocked on my window and asked me to wind down.
Officer Rifle: Good day, We wan know you.
Officer Rifle: I say we wan know you, come down!.
I stayed in my position, not moving, then I said,
Me: Good day, Mr ****** (I read the name on his badge). My name is *****, I work at ***** in ph.
Officer Rifle: Come down first, we are for stop and search.
I came down.
I promptly removed my second phone from my pocket, and the cash, and held it in my hand.
Me: You can search me now.
Officer Rifle: We wan search your phone. Na your phone we wan search.
LOL. Whet?!? Is he joking? This one is mad. And then I remembered that my younger brother mentioned something about how Lagos police now search people’s phones asking them to call all the international numbers on it. They even buy you credit and charge your phones if you say it’s dead!. So, I put everything back in my pocket and said.
Me: Oga, I’m sorry you cannot.
Officer Rifle: Eh?!, Wetin you talk?
Me: I said you cannot search my phone, what are you looking for on my phone?
Officer Rifle: We dey use am get yahoo boys.
Me: Well, I’m not a yahoo boy, I have a real job, I work in ph, I told you already. I can’t give you my phone to search because it is not proper, it doesn’t even sound normal. Infact it’s not in the law, to stop random people and ask them to bring out their phone for searching.
Officer Rifle: You dey argue with me? You go go station today, you musto prove that law today inside cell.
*At this point another officer comes, much older, and asks what’s going on as if he doesn’t know. I tell him, that I cannot give them my phone to search.
Older Officer: Why?
Me: Because, it cannot be right.
Older Officer: We fit arrest you.
Me: See, the only way I can give you this phone, is if you stop the first 10 cars on this road and ask the occupants to give you their phone for searching, when the 9th person is about to give you his phone, I will bring my own out and give you OR you carry me to that your station.
He leaves and another one, comes and asks me the same question, by this time, I went to sit on one the seats they kept in the roundabout. The guy came there and..
Third Officer: See, we dey try but una no know. We dey do this work for una. We no dey even see thank you. Big boy like you suppose see us for duty, tell us take, manage this one.
LOL. I just overheard the older police calling me bad market. LOL.
Me: If una stop me ask me for money and I get, wetin dey there? I go give you, nothing dey inside.
Third Officer: Oya find us something. Where you say you dey go?
I give 5 of them, some money.
Me: Suntan. I wan buy shirt.
Third Officer: *Raises his gun* You see that thing wey I dey talk? See suntan for your back. This driver just wan use you make money today. Thief! Heys! driver! Come here!.
I turned around and truly there was Suntan behind me, I just crossed the road and walked in admist shouts of “buy me shirt if you dey comot”.
Now, while this experience was funny and didn’t end badly, yours might be different. Here are some of the tips I can give.
– Always let them speak first : So, you can know what they want and why they want it.
– Greet and address the person by his name tag : This one is for formality and lets them know immediately that you are aware and that they are not just ‘police’ now. Its now ‘Mr ABC of the Nigerian Police’.
– Do not start your sentence with ‘Abeg’ and NEVER EVER speak pidgin English to them: See, this one is very important. Speaking pidgin puts you on the same ‘na we we’ level with them. Saying ‘abeg’ puts you below them. Note that Please and abeg are NOT the same thing when you are talking to the police.
– Don’t offer bribe: I think this one is self-explanatory. Apart from being illegal, you are automatically guilty.
– Don’t insult them: While they may be asking you for money, the Nigerian police is one of the most underpaid in the world, and they do actual work sometimes.
– Don’t argue recklessly with any man/woman whether police or army or navy or civilian who has a gun especially at night. Please, for obvious reasons. You don’t know what is going through in his head, one BOOM and that’s it, It’s all over. When you sense it is becoming heated, please do as they say.
I hope this helps you get out of unnecessary trouble and saves you some money especially this weekend. Remember, the police is your friend and not all police are bad police.
Disclaimer: I assumed that the people reading this post are law-abiding citizens of Nigeria, If you are not, don’t try this thing, it wont work, because karma. Also, all these things I narrated here doesn’t apply to the Nigerian Army. Take note! Because of slap and frog jump.
Have a lovely weekend.