By Ebele Orakpo
IT was a Monday morning during the peak traffic period along the Mile Two-Badagry road when out of the blues, a young man dressed in a pair of blue jeans trousers and T-shirt jumped right in front of this commuter bus and barked at the driver to stop. Everybody was confused because they could not pinpoint what the hapless driver had done wrong.
As the driver was trying to drive out of the road to park properly, the man shouted again: “I say park!” At this point, some of the commuters and those standing at the bus-stop witnessing the unfolding drama began to ask one another what offence the driver had committed.
“Ha! Laagooos! Different things happen here everyday,” exclaimed a commuter by name, Joe.
Before one could say Jack Robinson, the man put his hand in his hip pocket and brought out a yellow purse with a blue stripe containing business cards and just flashed it in front of the driver before putting it back in his pocket and then continued his ranting and raving.
Said Jude: “Ehen! Even if he is a law enforcement agent, is that how to treat people? What offence exactly did the driver commit?”
“Law enforcement officer my foot! Did you take a good look at the identity card he was flashing? That purse holding the card belongs to one of the major GSM companies and I bet you, the so-called identity card is a used recharge card he must have picked from the ground to use and intimidate commercial bus drivers,” stated Ugo.
There was laughter at this statement and Tolu said: “It’s true oo. I saw it clearly though he was very fast about it.”
“Do I call it naivety on the part of the average Nigerian? We fear anything in uniform and that is what these people are taking advantage of,” noted Joe.
Used recharge card as ID
“But this man is not in uniform,” protested Kemi.
Replied Ugo: “Na you sabi. Some of them come out in mufti sometimes so what he is putting on does not really matter. The ID card should tell us who he is.”
“ID card. Is that not what he flashed before you?” asked Chris. I am absolutely certain that what he flashed is a used recharge card, pure and simple! I saw it,” said Tolu again. But why are we so gullible that anybody can come from anywhere to intimidate us?” asked Joe.
“You know why? It’s because many of us have not learnt to be straightforward, to obey rules and do things properly. So people like this man are taking advantage of that to intimidate and extort money from others,” said Ugo.
“You are right because if you do the right thing, you will not fear any law enforcement agent – real or fake,” noted Peju.
The bus conductor sensing that the matter may delay them unnecessarily went and called a policeman who was on duty and the policeman quickly came to mediate. Unfortunately, that worsened the matter because the man felt they had called the policeman to harass him.
Said Kemi: “The man needs money for breakfast. The driver should have just given him some money for food instead of all this long speech. Now, with the policeman in the picture, he feels he may not get anything from the driver again. Instead, it will be given to the policeman. That is why he is shouting the more.”
“So this is another means of begging?” asked Tolu.
“Begging? This is stealing! They flash fake ID cards, the victim is afraid and offers them money whether he committed any offence or not. Anyway, cunny man die, cunny man buryam,” said Joe.
The driver eventually had to part with some naira notes as the policeman was unable to help him.