Run, the Nigerian police is NOT your friend – Abiodun Kuforiji Nkwocha

Run, the Nigerian police is NOT your friend – Abiodun Kuforiji Nkwocha

There are three things that should not happen to you.

  1. Find yourself under fire on Nairaland. (It happened to me once, when I yabbed Yoruba men. It was a crucifixion. So tay, someone dug out my least flattering picture on Facebook and said “With a face like this, which Yoruba man will want her.” My dear bosses, our package should include therapy… ko easy to be lynched.
  2. Find yourself in trouble with Lastma. These men have post graduate degrees in “Not hearing begging”. When you fall into their trap, towing will be involved, demurrage and fines will be involved and it will be hefty. Bus drivers have killed to avoid Lastma.
  3. Finally, the Nigerian Police. Our friends.

It is a fearful thing to be poor and fall inside the hands of the Nigerian police.

It is better to fall into a pit of soldier ants naked.

Ok, well maybe not better sha, but in the same category.

police run

The police have only one friend and that friend is inanimate. It comes in different colours with different faces of dead people e.g Murtala Mohammed…

One fine Sunday about 5 years ago, my husband and I were coming back from Daystar Church at Oregun. We passed Charity Bus stop and were on Airport Road. There is a bridge over that place. To make a turn from that bridge to Airport Road, you have to reach Oshodi first.

All of a sudden, armed men wearing black and carrying cocked guns descended from the bridge. They were up to 15 men. We initially thought they were robbers but we soon saw the uniform. They motioned us to stop and we did. One of them grabbed the passenger door handle and opened it aggressively ordering me to get down.

I was holding my 7 month old baby. I came down confused and my husband’s first thought was to stop a cab for me to leave the dangerous looking scenario.

“Biodun, just go home.”

Both him and the police were just joking. I was still relatively new to Lagos and could barely tell the roads apart. I had no relatives or friends. Why would I willingly let my husband follow policemen without knowing what crime was committed or where they were taking him to?

Police 1

I dug my foot in.

“If you want to kill am, you must kill us together.” I shouted

Are you guys surprised? Yes o, I went straight from zero to hundred.

“What has my husband done? I will not go anywhere and leave him with you. We will die together.”

I was shouting and cars were slowing down to see what was happening.

One of the policemen got exasperated with my hysterics.

“Madam, he did illegal u turn from up the bridge.”


“See my church programme, we are coming from Oregun, the only turn we did was after 7up bottling company, what are you talking about?”

At that point, they realised they had messed up.

“Oya, enter enter, hehehe, Oga, this ya wife like you o.”

And that was how it ended.

Illegal u-turn my people, that was what warranted over a dozen men carrying cocked guns waving motorists to the side way.

Hausa people say: “Ya rasa nama ya bi tsoro the ada”

This means (forgive my Hausa spellings) “Because he has no meat, he is chasing a mosquito with a cutlass.”

When armed robbers seized banks in Festac, shooting from AK 47s and carting away bags of money (this lasted more than 20 minutes) our ‘friends’ were nowhere to be seen.

police 2

Illegal U-turn (which we did not even take) and they descended on us as though we were Shekau, wife and son.

Last year, there was a court ruling on a land dispute at Oke-afa. The family that won organised Omo Nile and policemen to destroy the shops lined up in the disputed area. Please note that these tenants were not part of the dispute, it was between landowners. The shops were destroyed one after another under the watchful eyes of policemen.

How about that time the market at Abule, in my estate, was destroyed for being on the road by KAI. This market has been operational since I started living in the estate 6 years ago. The day KAI came, they were accompanied by over 20 policemen.

Powerful and mighty policemen, champions when it comes to majoring on minors.

I asked the ‘Keke’ driver to turn back home because I could not buy anything from the market.  As we were driving, a policeman flagged him down, he turned back and looked at me apologetically “make I carry am, na officer.” (mind you, I had chartered the Keke). The policeman jumped in, on the way, he was giving friendly warnings to people that had tables encroaching on the streets

“Pack ya eggs o, KAI dey come..”

How thoughtful, nice and friendly to warn perpetrators of a crime that your colleagues were coming to destroy their wares.

My son that saw policemen as a symbol of law and order was puzzled after seeing this.

“Why were they breaking all those tables? I don’t like policemen again.”

My other son liked how tough they looked with their guns and said:

“Mummy I want to be a policeman..”

“God forbid, I did not born a policeman.” I answered with venom.

Anyway, the next day the market was back on the road, I wonder who got settled to look the other way for the next few years.

Once, armed robbers attacked a hotel close to my house. I heard gunshots that sounded like they were in my compound. My husband told me to lie down on the floor… just in case bullets zip by.

When the sun was up and we asked around, it turned out the robbers were long gone by the time the policemen arrived and the gunshots we heard were from the police.

Armed robbers robbed quietly and got away.

Policemen came to rescue loudly and did not catch anyone.

If you are driving a rickety car you will see the aggression in how they ask you to park.

“PAKKK!” Without an iota of respect.

If you are in a nice car (preferably an SUV)

“Happy weekend sir…”

“How may I help you officer?”

You will hear stammering, you will see idiocy and longathroat mottled on their faces.

Give them a N500 note and watch them start a salute parade for you in the middle of the road on a hot sunny day.

Our friends.

Do you know there is a guy rotting away in jail because he stole a chicken 7 years ago? He has not been charged to court.

Tell me if he had stolen a car, he would still be in jail.

Speaking of cars, I once heard of a guy that reported his stolen car to the police. They actually took him to where stolen cars are warehoused before the cars are moved out of the state. He did not get his car but it is amazing that the police will know of the existence of such of a place and leave it operational.

Police gist no go end today.

Just in case any of our highly esteemed friends are reading this (police officers) and fuming, no vex. And before you think of finding me to ask me questions, two things…

  1. None of the above happened, I am a creative writer (or did it….?)
  2. The picture Sabinews uses, is not my real face (doing my fingers like Emmanuella.)

Who wan die? I am generally all talk but once behind counter, I go do toilet because of fear….


Read more from Abiodun

Nigeria is full of witches  

Feminism has nothing to do with who washes plates

Sometimes I hate being a mother 



About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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