Saturday, October 23, 2021

    Bribery: The Checkpoint Master of Nigerian Police Officers? By Oluwasegun Somefun

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    Babatunde Akinsola
    Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

    2010_Nigeria_Cartoon_1_-575x417In a country where corruption is the King of culture, what those in the know would call endemic. It is no more shocking news when citizens encounter public undue harassment by law enforcement agencies put in place by a system meant for the well-being of the people. This leaves little to wonder on why bribery is a prevalent manifestation of corruption, when one ponders on whether directly or indirectly, these men in black do not encourage terrorism, kidnappings and other agents of internal disorder through their various enterprising checkpoints and only God knows, bribery schemes. This endeavour no doubt is the most enterprising road business in Nigeria. Their so-called Ogas at the topwho should set up ghost plain police officers to hunt unethical police officers, do nothing to reduce this blot. They fold their arms, while their boys behave unschooled and unethical. The people on their part remain smiling in the cul-de-sac suffering the Nigerian Police have restricted them. They do their trained jobs rightly against the wrong people. No wonder they cannot control the influx of tension in the Nigerian society today.

    There is a voice unseen but heard everywhere. When will our men in black come to their senses? Must we take the fight from social media to the streets, before their senses click rightly?

    Even if they cannot fight grand corruption, they should be the ones at war against bribery.

    A glance at this blot reveals the story of a Police officer at a checkpoint in front of the Onilekere Police Station, Idimu area headquarters, Lagos. He stopped a particular sienna car seeing it was a very young man at the car wheels. He must have had the intent of receiving egunje when he stopped him. He asked for the young man’s driver license. He showed the officer.  The officer after inspecting the vehicle and its occupant should have released them on their way. He then slyly asked for the car’s tinted permit. The young man was alarmed. He mumbled to the officer that he did not have one. He told them to park. The young man then told the officer, “Oga I don show u my driver license. I no know which one be tinted permit. Please we dey go church for vigil now, shebi, u don look say na women and children dey inside”. As he was saying this one of the backseat drivers shouted, owo lo n wa. Efun ni kan, ki o tete je ka ma lo, bi awon to wa ni bi se ma n se ni ye o, tori pe owo asale ni”. An elderly woman also in the car, who originally owned the car but could not drive it, quickly called the police officer aside, thrust a 200 naira note in his hand, and said, omo wa ni,  awa nlo fun vigil ni church”. The reaction of the officer quickly changed, he instantaneously replied as if he had just won a lottery jackpot, “Ah mummy e so fun wa o, e ma lo. That was how that scenario ended. Notwithstanding one salient note is that for the about 5 minutes this story took place, other vehicles were busy zooming back and forth. There was no stop and absolute no check carried by the Officers at that point. Probably one of those cars could have sheltered a Boko-Haram member, a kidnapper, an armed robber, weaponry or active or passive elements that could lead to the loss of lives and property of the citizen of the country Nigeria. This is a basic pledge of the Nigerian police, yet they have failed to honour this code, no wonder, Boko-Haram members are multiplying and migrating around Nigerian states today.

    This is a single story, yet in itself, it has painted other untold stories. The once respected Nigerian police are in widespread disrespect by the Nigerian Populace. One of these days there could be a violent nationwide protest against the corrupt acts of the Nigerian police force– they have just not reached their limit.

    Go and inquire; everybody is talking about it, but nobody is doing anything to curb the Nigerian Police stigma. May be what we all need is for us to share our single stories to work out a kind of societal paradise.

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