Terrific storytellers like Leo Tolstoy, Harper Lee, Chinua Achebe and a host of others would all be unknown today were they not armed with a great deal of knowledge and information on their stories. I will not be entitled to such luxury here. I have a huge problem with information on the above topic. If cargo ships were used to carry knowledge and information, the above topic would require more than a hundred United States ocean cruising vessels.
Emeka was the strongest and most loyal of all the young men who work for me. So it was with record speed I got to the police station on learning of his arrest. I took my cue, waiting patiently to speak with the police attendant. “What is your problem with this man?”, a female police officer thundered. I told her what my problem was! You must first pay a sum of a N1000, she said.
This fee, according to her, was to be used in purchasing disinfectant for the cell where Emeka was currently detained. I was then introduced to the IPO, (investigating police officer) who told me Emeka’s offence. And his freedom was to cost me twenty-five thousand naira. “What?”, I screamed. My protest compounded Emeka’s problems. An offence of gambling metamorphosed into armed robbery! A bullet shell was produced as evidence for this new claim.
The UK and America police would need the expertise of Nigeria police on the technology behind the manufacturing of evidences. To be honest, I see an export commodity here. Often times I see and hear on CNN or on BBC news hour how civil and criminal cases were dropped by Scotland Yard or the New York police department for lack of enough evidence to prosecute an offender. The Nigeria policeman is well vast and gifted in the ability to produce, manufacture or create evidence against an offender. And in good speed. It is a suicide attempt for anyone under investigation to prove his or her knowledge of the law to a good Nigeria police officer. It is a gross show of disrespect and a flagrant display of arrogance to an enforcer of the law here in Nigeria. Not only will the evidences to nail you increase numerically, the weight of these evidences will be in tons.
I lost my ATM card. I was required by my bank to produce a police report. After a sworn affidavit in a court premises I went to the police station. On this day, I noticed something strange in this vicinity that was notoriously ever absent. Smiling faces. Police in Nigeria are known to carry the saddest of faces on planet earth. While my report was being processed, the celebration continued and I wondered. Nigerian policemen and women were so happy! What must have happened? Mass promotion perhaps. My entire assumption nose-dived when the police officer handed me my report and told me the reason for their celebration. In his words, “are you not in this country, have you not heard that Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has been removed as EFCC chairman?” A Nigeria police station was celebrating the removal of the greatest known fighter of corruption Nigeria has ever known! I was dazed in disbelief. Nuhu Ribadu dedicated his life to passionately fighting corruption in high places. He fought fiercely to enthrone accountability in governance in Nigeria. Yet, he lost the battle. Like a goat chased to a wall, corruption turned back and pursued him, caught up with him and tossed him in the air.
My next story takes me to 2001. This time they called it routine search. A group of men in mufti who identified themselves as policemen surrounded my house. They hauled me out of my apartment straight into their vehicle and drove off. After about 20 minutes or more, the vehicle finally entered inside a very busy compound. I was taken to a room with open doors and windows. I was there alone. After about 10 minutes, a drama ensued.
I noticed policemen running about within the compound. They all looked worried. Through my windows I saw a group of young men, some in hand cuffs, numbering over ten, arranged in a single file and being ordered to move faster by uniformed police officers. They soon disappeared into a nearby bush. At this time, my anger had changed into fear. Two police men entered into my room in quick succession.
I identified one of them. He was one of those who came to my house earlier that morning. He spoke to me briskly and surprisingly apologized to me. He told me to go home and that I was a free man. My fear changed into curiosity. Two rules were broken here. Firstly, Nigerian policemen would never ever set you free without a fee. And secondly, they do not apologize. They intimidate and harass you, be you right or wrong. As I approached the exit gate of this police station, on my way out, I saw two cars entering the compound and a little while, senior police officers highlighted from them.
The puzzle pieces were beginning to fall in place. I do not need the brains of Albert Einstein to solve this riddle. Senior Police officers were also on routine check I suspected. This police station was committing grave human right violations. To avoid sack or suspension, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in-charge of this Police Station was hiding illegally detained citizens from superior officers who were sent from headquarters on routine check. Well, I doubted this. Why then did they not come unannounced! My other suspicion was a bit clearer. These superior officers from HQ had come to collect their share of illegal funds extorted from motorist and detainees. And this police station was shortchanging them.
The next story reveals the athletic prowess of the Nigeria Police men and women. This institution has produced Olympic silver and gold medalists. This does not come as a surprise. Their sportsmanship has never been in doubt at all. Every Nigerian can testify to the sprinting capabilities of a Nigeria Policeman at the sound of a gun. And luckily for them, it is the sound of a gun that prompts a race at the Olympics. It is not an uncommon site in Nigeria to see policemen running hysterically from the scene of armed robbery operations. And they do this while performing three more actions simultaneously.
To remove ones shirt, pants and shoes while on a record speed cannot be said to be a common feat. To be able to achieve this, American movie producers use what is called a ‘special effect’. The Nigeria Policeman can enact this rare display of sportsmanship if you can just fire a gun or anything that sounds like it. I am not omitting high jump either. It is amazing when you consider the height a Nigeria policeman is capable of jumping over at the sound of an AK-47. I propose that men like Chico Ejiro, Kingsley Ogoro and many other Nigerian movie producers harness this uncommon feat by our great Nigeria Policemen.
While gathering materials for this article, a friend sent me a puzzle on my BlackBerry messenger and another posted something remarkable about the Nigeria Police on his Facebook wall. As for the puzzle, I am very certain he meant to be mischievous. The puzzle goes thus; ‘’between a Nigerian girl and a Nigerian Policeman, who loves money more.’’ This question is a very difficult one for any honest, law abiding Nigeria citizen. I have sent out questionnaires on it and result will be seen in the part two of this article. As for the ‘remarkable post’, it was unbelievable. Justin Akpovi – Enade is a friend with a passion for justice and truth. Had he not written this ‘remarkable post’, I would have discarded it immediately. I would have assumed that he was secretly hired as a public relations officer for the Nigeria Police. The post narrated his recent encounter with some Nigeria policemen and their amazing show of courtesy. It points to a new direction. The search for the new Nigeria police has just begun. Already I have visited two police stations secretly. You will hear from me.