According to the Holy Bible, the would be disciple was skeptical about his brother’s discovery of the Messiah in Nazareth of all places. He was not scornful in his skepticism. Nazareth of old was not renowned for producing men of lofty deeds, of valor, of reputable disposition. But his brother was sure of his finding, Jesus Christ, even from Nazareth! The disciple went, saw and believed.
I have my reservation for the Nigeria police, and I am at liberty to be stingy with my sympathy for it. Like most Nigerians, my aversion for the police was borne out of third party narrations. Everybody is talking ill of the police so must I. After all, the organization itself is not so meticulous about its image. Who then am I not to be frugal in my love for its members?
A Yoruba adage says that masquerade is honoured abroad while people are appreciated better on close contact came to the fore recently when I had a close encounter with the Nigerian police. After this incident, I metaphorically fell on my knees asking Father to forgive me for I did not know what I was doing.
At the wee hours of Friday 15th November, 2013, I had an encounter with the men of underworld who snatched my car, a green Infinity G20 saloon car with Reg. No FQ 821 LND in front of my street gate at Onike area, Yaba, Lagos State. I reported the incident at the Sabo Police Division promptly and was advised to report same at the Control Room at Oduduwa, GRA, Ikeja. That singular action altered my perception of the Nigeria police for live. It was so dramatic that I felt like a Nollywood actor in a ‘B’- rated detective movie.
On getting there, I met with an officer who pitied my plight and promised to “go all out to assist me” by sending a radio signal to all police formations in Lagos State command and environ pronto, if only I could part with the sum of six thousand naira. I was not disappointed because I wasn’t expecting a more refined behaviour from the police. I thought it was just ‘normal’ to ‘settle’ before ‘action’.
I hadn’t that much money on me (as every thing had gone with the car. I therefore promised to bring the money the following day. He ‘generously’ promised to help me send the signal the following day after the payment of the money. He gave me his identification and phone number so that I could contact him when coming. While soliciting for the money, a curious lender asked why I was so anxious for such a meager amount of money.
I told him. He was furious at me and scolded me for being so naive and uninformed about the re-branded Nigeria police. He said I should contact the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO , Mrs. Ngozi Braide, (DSP), for assistance and report the conduct of the wayward police officer who incidentally was a superior officer (Supol) thus expected to know better.
It wasn’t until Sunday evening that I had time to call the PPRO with the motive of persuading her to use her position to compel the desired action. I never bargained for the result that I got from her. She pleaded with me to come to her office the following morning (Monday). On getting there, she made me narrate the story again and she promptly sent for the officer but changed her mind and asked if I could present marked money to the officer, saying that the Command was desirous of weeding itself of all bad eggs. Hardly had I given the marked money to the officer than he was promptly arrested by the men of the X Squad who were lurking nearby. We were both taken to the presence of the Commissioner of Police ( Umar Manko), who asked us to narrate what happened.
The arrested officer corroborated my statement but countered it by saying that he only asked me to come back the following day to “show appreciation” with the six thousand naira (N6,000.00). The CP tongue lashed him before ordering his detention.
My car was later found at the LASTMA office, Iponri. Investigation revealed that the LASTMA officers towed it from the road side where the thieves abandoned it. It had been ticketed N30, 000! The police went further to write LASTMA to release the vehicle to them for further investigation, arguing that it was a stolen vehicle. We are still awaiting the reaction of LASTMA on this latest development.