Rogues Or Armed Policemen ? You Tell Me

This can’t be happening; I mean are all these men brandishing guns here and there at various checkpoints all members of the Nigerian Police Force? The worrying things is that this madness is not only restricted to checkpoints alone, but you can see it almost everywhere you go in the city of Lagos.

Things have become so worrisome that all one needs to have a police escort is to part with some money; it’s all a case of the highest bidder these days. Someone went as far as explaining to me that people use police escort just to evade checkpoints.

I can assure you that I know my rights, and I do all I can to stay on the right side of the law; but the truth of the matter is that you won’t find me challenging a man with a gun. I would be out of my mind arguing or challenging a man in uniform; no, that’s not in my character.

This goes out to all returnees; I advise you to be vigilant, and avoid any situation that may lead to avoidable argument or confrontation with a policeman.

I have had issues with some men of the police force before I went abroad; and you can read about that on my site (iyandasdiary.com) where I was brutalised and seriously manhandled. It is titled: “BEATEN BLACK N BLUE BY A POLICE MAN;” this however, took place a couple of years back. Surely, I wasn’t expecting things to remain the way they were back in the days; but I guess I was wrong because I had to find out in a hard way.

It happened that an overzealous policeman had stopped my brother and I at a checkpoint while driving on Lagos road. I was enraged because the man was actually pointing a gun at my brother. How could he; I mean it was like aiming a shot at a chart in a shooting range. Thank God I was able to calm my nerves and asked my brother to take things easy and keep the calm since he was the one behind the wheel.

Eventually we pulled over, and parked by the side of the road before one of the cops entered the car through the back seat and requested for the car’s particulars. A couple of minutes later, the policeman took a look at me, and requested that I moved out of the car. Of course, I was surprised and found this rather strange. I asked him why, and without saying any word further, he opened the door and asked me to step out. He said they were on a stop and search mission, and he wants to search me as well as the car. Instantly I started smiling, and that was when he said “by the time I am through with you, u go dey beg.” That signalled the start of my problem with the policemen that day.

I wasn’t prepared to be pushed about by anyone; so I decided to call his bluff, and asked him to address me decently since he didn’t know my status in the society. As soon as he got into the car and started searching, I also went in with him in order to prevent a situation where a cop would plant something in the car to incriminate me. Of course, he became furious and asked me to step out of the car.

You won’t believe what happened next especially if you are returnee; the cop that searched the car actually asked me to raise my hands in the air so he could search me. Imagine that! How could he ask me to raise my hands so he could search me in a popular area like Allen Avenue, the very heartbeat of Ikeja? How could he ask Iyanda to raise his hand like a criminal? No way in this world was he going to put his filthy hands through my pocket for whatever reason. I just couldn’t understand what he was driving at; could  it be because I was dressed in shorts as well as T-shirt all because of the heat?

The only reason these uninformed men in uniform are treating and intimidating me like this is because I wasn’t dressed like a banker. I mean it is totally uncalled for and unacceptable. These men are paid to protect law abiding citizens of this country no matter what type of clothes they put on. He was trying to empty my pocket since he wouldn’t let me help him out. Gosh! I wished I had a sharp object like razor in my pocket at least to teach him a massive lesson. Please don’t get me all wrong because I am not a wicked person.

As soon as he had satisfied his curiosity, he said he wanted to search my wallet to be sure I wasn’t keeping anything incriminating in there. Without waiting for my permission, he took my wallet and started going through it; and before I could say Jack Robinson, he screamed yes we got him! Got who? Excuse me, what did you just say? Oh God! This is not happening to Iyanda! He said: “this one na confirmed yahoo guy!” At this point, I was already holding back my anger by smiling casually.

Suddenly the other cops came to where I was standing, and was told that I would have to come along to the station with them. I asked to know why; and I was told because I had some UK bank notes in my wallet (lol this can’t be happening!). I guess you must be reeling with laughter by now! So it has become a crime to be in possession of UK bank notes and cards? At this point, I had to change my countenance because I wasn’t prepared to go to the station with them. Then I asked one of the cops the name on the card; but didn’t wait for a response from him before I read out my name loud and clear. I also brought out my ID card that has my name on it just to corroborate my claim. I also raised alarm and was lucky to attract other citizens passing by to come and witness what was happening.

This worked because they soon became quiet and kind of embarrassed by their action; and eventually they said we could go. I couldn’t believe that these guys have actually waste 30 minutes of my time; what a shame! As they walked away from the car, I overheard them saying: “this one no sabi anything o” (this looks like a newbie who doesn’t know anything) I also heard them whisper these words as they walked away from the scene: “we for just carry am go station and frame am up” (we would have taken him to the station to set him up). This is incredible to say the least; and to make matters worse, one of the cops walked up to me and said these exact words: “oga next time no dey waste your time or our time with oyinbo, you for just settle us and go your own way” (that all these would have been avoided If I had cooperated with them).

It would interest you to know that the guy who drove the car was not searched, and neither was he asked to provide his driving license; and of course, he didn’t have one at the time.

You can read more on my site (iyandasdiary.com) for more on this and other encounters I had with men in black.

All returnees should take note of the following tips:

Never argue or confront a man in uniform unnecessarily especially late in the night.

Make sure  you don’t have any shady stuff on you

Make sure you have all you papers intact if you are driving

Speak less phonetics.Lol

Get small change for hand in case you are in a hurry, although I don’t like the idea.

Greet them, like ‘chairman’ wetin dey happen now