By Ebele Orakpo
“But I thought the police had been removed from our roads?” asked John, a commuter in the Oshodi-bound bus which a policeman flagged down and asked the driver to get down.
“Of course! They no longer harass people the way they used to. In fact, we confronted one some time ago and he said: “Ehn, are we on the road? This is the side of the road. So we are not breaking the law.”
“Indeed, trust our people to always find ways of circumventing the law,” laughed Obi.
Narrated Pete: “I was at the bus-stop one day waiting to board a vehicle to the office. A few minutes later, a car stopped, discharged the passengers and was calling Mile-2. I quickly boarded the vehicle with other passengers. I saw one beautiful Sagem cell phone and quickly called the attention of the last person that came down from the vehicle, thinking it was hers. She said it was not hers.
Immediately, the driver asked for the phone and I showed it to him. He took it from me. Other passengers started asking me who the owner was and I told them a passenger must have left it. The driver said he will return it to the owner. They asked him for the identity of the owner and he said he will go and look for him.
At this point, one of the passengers switched off the car engine, removed the key from the ignition and handed it to me, and said I should hold onto it until the driver gave me back the phone. I mean, the guy was holding the phone as if his life depended on it. We were already causing hold-up there.”
“Ehn, if na you nko? The guy just landed a free phone and you wan spoil show for him,” joked Jide.
“But honestly, do people still steal phones these days?” asked Mary.
“Of course they do, especially the beautiful and expensive types,” replied Ify.
“On a more serious note, why would someone steal Sagem? They are ugly and too heavy,” stated Jemila.
“Those must be the earlier versions. The new ones are okay,” submitted Jide.
“A friend told me how some area boys surrounded a guy in suit and demanded for his handset, he quickly gave it to them but instead of taking the phone from him, one of them slapped him across the face and said: ‘So upon all this fine suit, na this ugly phone you dey carry?’ They were really angry,” said Iyke.
“See me see trouble oo! Is it not what he had he offered them?” asked Jemila.
“They had expected something better. Not that ogbunigwe (weapon of mass destruction),” said Iyke.
“We have not heard the rest of Pete’s story o,” noted Mary.
Continued Pete: “Traffic started to build up, so some policemen controlling traffic came to find out what was happening. I explained everything to them and they asked the driver the name of the owner of the phone and he said he didn’t know but he was going to find him and return the phone.
The policemen then said I should follow them to the station to make a formal report. At the station, the policeman bought a foolscap sheet and asked me to write what happened and also my number so the owner could call and thank me. I asked for their log book and he said they only use that when someone has a case and want to lodge a complaint but this is a simple thing”.
“Oh, the phone don enter voicemail be that,” said Iyke.
“After four days, I went back to the station to find out if the owner of the phone had collected it, I did not see anybody. I repeated the visit and I met a policewoman and a few others. I narrated the story to her and she laughed and said: “Apart from one policeman in here, all the others are rogues, both men and women.”
Said Mary: “Thief stealing from thief. Reminds me of the story of two thieves that went to steal from someone’s farm. On their way out, one was trying to steal from the other’s bag and he turned, shook his head and said: “If they cure me of robbery, you are incurable!”