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I can no longer tell a Policeman from a tout–Henry Ahamuefula



I’m sure many of us have been pulled over on a ride somewhere, delayed–not for over-speeding (of course this is Nigeria), expired particulars or driving license, but for failure of the driver to provide his “papers”– the word associated with the extortion of road users. This is, in fact, the bane of a plethora of misdeeds associated with the men in “Blue”, oh sorry, “Black”; those in Bayelsa doing remarkably well in these nefarious acts.

I frankly can not tell a Police from a “street tout”. For a “tout”, he robs with his gun, for an officer of the law, he robs with the law.

There are also reported cases of shootings, deaths; consequence of civilians’ refusal to oblige the extortion.

The latest trend is that of cops accosting young Nigerians, holding them hostage (like how they arrest, but different), until they transfer monies from their accounts into theirs– as ransom to get freedom

The Global community is not entirely oblivious to these happenings. The BBC had in an article said “extortion of civilians and bribery of police is a fact of life in Nigeria – often taking place in public and in broad daylight”.

Motorists, businessmen, traders, those under arrest are extremely likely to encounter threats and demands for money.

The moment a case of Police rascality is brought up, there is a rush of adrenaline, our minds quickly race to the thoughts when confronted with such scenarios where you don’t have the money to buy yourself freedom from the grip of the failed custodians of the law.

The erosion of your self-confidence, liberty. An immediate fear of being punched, kicked, beaten, gouged or killed by a master of the art; it is needless–I think – to detail too extensively how spoilt your day would become thence

It is in fact this rascality that leads to their brutality. There’s no sanctioning from their superiors when they fall short of the ethics, or trample on the inalienable rights of civilians. As a matter of fact, cases involving a cop and a civilian seldom get to the court. When they do, they’re mostly adjudicated in favour of the coppers. The atrocities, one can say, stem from the “Ogas” at the top. First, for their inability to up disciplinary measures, second, for their possible complicity in the acts. Stories have been told of how the police officers return a certain percentage of their daily “hustle” to their superiors.

I can’t even begin to narrate their addiction to drugs. Well, we live to write another day.