By Ebele Orakpo
Hmm, I thought we have passed this stage,” lamented a commuter by name John, in the Oshodi-bound commercial vehicle as a Police van drove past and came to an abrupt stop in front of the bus as the bus driver stopped at the bus-stop so that some passengers could alight.
As the driver moved back in order to create some space between him and the Police van so he could drive off, three policemen jumped down from the van; one went to the driver’s side, ordering him to come down from the bus, while the other two went to drag the bus conductor down.
“What are you trying to hide? Hope it is not marijuana. You think you are smart, don’t you?” one of the policemen barked at the conductor who had bent down to put something under one of the seats.
“Come down at once before I give you a very dirty slap,” shouted the second policeman, pointing his gun menacingly at the poor conductor.
At this point, the conductor and the driver obeyed and followed them to their van, cutting the picture of a goat before a hungry lion, helpless.
“What has the driver done wrong? Is this not a bus-stop and at this time of the night? This is pure robbery!” declared Matthew. “When will these guys change?” he asked flabbergasted.
“But that has been their stock-in-trade. I am not surprised. In any case, what do you want them to change to? From humans to goats?” asked Mary.
“This is not funny. It’s so terrible! I mean, it’s unacceptable! This is really sad. It does not speak well of this nation. These guys are supposed to be protecting us, but they go about terrorising us. This is democratic era for God’s sake,” stated Joy.
”You just dey blow grammar. They don’t understand all that. The only thing they will understand at this point is money. The driver must part with some good money,”said Mary.
“Gbam!You got it. The driver has done absolutely nothing wrong. This is weekend and they need money so the driver just happened to be their victim.
All they want is money to go and drink and womanise, period!” said John with a knowing look, adding: “They will collect the whole money they’ve made today and that was what the conductor was trying to avoid by attempting to hide some of the money under the seat.”
“This is Nigeria where people in uniform get away with anything. But we should be happy that the incidence of accidental discharge has drastically reduced. Remember how it was before this Inspector General od Police came to the saddle.
Policemen were collecting bribe openly and if they were not given, the person concerned would have himself to blame. Sometimes, there is collateral damage; an innocent bystander or passenger may receive the bullet meant for the driver or conductor. It’s really a shame,” said David.
After about 20 minutes, the duo returned, looking downcast.
“How much did they collect,” Matthew asked the conductor who refused to say a word.
“They will leave the job they are employed to do to extort money from people,” said Joy.
“A friend of mine went to report a robbery case at the Police station. He was asked to pay some money before he could write a statement. They even asked him for money to buy padlock for the big man’s bangles (handcuffs) they were going to use,”narrated Mary. “They are simply shameless.”
”Of course, he should be ready to bear the cost. He was even licky he was not asked to fuel their vehicle becaue I know they do that sometimes,”said John.
Said David: “What about some policemen who arrested some boys for laughing at a crippled guy and charged them for assault and emotional trauma. All they want is money. They put the boys behind bars and their people had to go and bail them with plenty money of course.”