Policemen as road side friends or killers ?

Posted by on Oct 10th, 2018 and filed under AgwodInuju. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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I bubbled with an atom of excitement and relief of brighter days ahead when the 2015 Presidential Election favoured Muhammadu Buhari.

 

My joy was neither related to any partisan inclination to APC membership before the last general election nor instigated by pecuniary benefits the ascendancy of the retired army officer to the highest office in Nigeria would put on my table. Rather, I flowed like every other   average Nigerian who could have been hypnotized by the “Change” mantra, preached by the party as its watchword to entrench radical reforms in Nigeria system.

 

There were expectations that if the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who held sway for 16 years since the nascent democracy debuted had fluffed the chances to put Nigeria on the right track, the APC would learn from the past misdeeds of the umbrella party, to institute a new dawn.

 

Buoyed by the saintly posture Buhari wore before 2015 election, one aspect majority of Nigerians believed he would tackle after being sworn in, was corruption.

 

Mr President’s much touted rich background in zero tolerance for corruption was enough dossier for Nigerians to expect a minimized level of corruption in the system after he took over reins of power from Goodluck Jonathan.

 

Alas, with six months to clock four years in office, the hydra headed endemic societal malaise is regrettably yet to abate in the Buhari administration.

 

This commentary is not meant to gauge the anti corruption landmarks of the present government and is not politically induced to score cheap points for or against   any candidate and party especially now another election year is approaching. Instead, a recent unsavory incident where a life would have been lost for the sake of “Roger” warranted this piece.

 

Call it any name, from bribe, graft, settlement, Egunje, etc, “Roger” in this subject is part of the financial gains men of the Nigeria police get, through underhand practices and illegal procedures against innocent Nigerians. In other words, a means employed by the uniformed men and women to extort money from defenseless and helpless citizens.

 

I have always argued that it remains a wishful thinking for any administration to claim to be fighting corruption when security agencies, like police and army, publicly collect Roger on Nigeria roads.

 

There is hardly any road in the country, especially in the South East and South South part of the country, uniformed men and women are not stationed and openly engaging in extortion.

 

An encounter,  a motorist experienced in Owerri  last weekend further questions the outcome of the  battle against corruption in Nigeria propagated by the present administration as one of its signature achievements. It also goes further to challenge the popular saying that “Police is your friend”

 

A car owner had left one of the venues of the recently concluded primaries a party in Owerri, the Imo State capital, had last weekend, after inhaling quantum of tear gases released by policemen stationed to maintain peace and order at the venue.

 

The motorist, a middle aged man allergic to such offensive anti riot canisters because of a peculiar illness opposed to such hazards and was about to experience a crisis at the venue before he managed to hop inside his vehicle and started searching for a nearby pharmacy shop to procure relevant drugs recommended for  him as rescue in case of emergency attack or risky development.

 

The motorist drove through the Aladima Hospital on Chukwuma Nwoha road to MCC Junction all in Owerri Municipality where a police inspector, ( names withheld ) flagged down the vehicle for stop and search operation.

 

After peeping into the vehicle without any incriminating evidence to arrest and delay the driver and the vehicle, the policeman, characteristic of police officers on checkpoint duties demanded for the vehicle particulars, which was immediately offered. After going through the papers without implications, the Inspector however seized it on the grounds that the factory fitted tinted permit of the SUV has not being renewed. The driver who bought the vehicle years ago had gotten official police tinted permit which he used and presented on demand  before the encounter.

 

While the policeman took his time to undertake the rigours of stop and search, the driver who has become a captive informed him of a crisis situation hooking his health condition and pleaded to be allowed to rush and get drug even without moving with the vehicle which the security officer armed with gun bluntly refused.

 

Next was asking the restless driver of the vehicle to park well and subsequently handed over the car particulars to another policeman, this time, a corporal who commenced another round of antics that threw the unstable victim into trauma.

 

The motorist was not only abandoned to his fate but couldn’t receive any response as they policemen concentrated more in their “Stop and Search” that was more like a toll gate centre for extortion from vehicle users.

 

The police victim who was fast losing grasp of breath and failing health tried leaving the location without his car for nearby pharmacy for a relieve drug but was stopped at gun point not to move. The gun wielding corporal ordered the sick driver  to “drop” fuel money in the hands of the Inspector or  he will not be  allowed to move out of the road.

 

Meanwhile, the police team, judging from their vehicle parked by the roadside is part of the special squad for security in Owerri municipality, the Okorocha government recently backed up with logistics for protection of lives and property.

 

Left with no option than to obey the command of the policemen who had already placed him on arrest and detention on the road on gun point for allegedly failing to drop money for fuel, for fear of accidental discharge on him helplessly climbed into his car before the challenging health problems increased. Thereafter, he collapsed inside the car after waiting in vain for hours to be allowed to go for medicare. It was not only a divine intervention but a miracle that the victim survived the police inhumanity and abandonment.

 

The Inspector who came close to the vehicle, perhaps, for monitoring, noticed the pitiable condition of the victim and managed to supply two sachets of pure water which the victim drank for revival.

 

The victim who was within spitting distance to death managed to alight from his car after the water therapy through the  help of a passerby that noticed the  disturbing incident and entered a taxi who took him to a  nearby pharmacy for the prescribed revival drugs during such critical cases.

 

It was five hours later that a relation of the victim came to rescue the vehicle parked on the road.

 

Meanwhile, while the victim was under serious agony, breathing his last, the interest of the policemen was the “Roger” money they willfully collected from other motorists.

 

Stories related to this incident are  abound in the state, where policemen on stop and search duties exploit vehicle users on the roads. It would have been a sad news for the victim for failing to part with “Roger” the policemen tagged “fuel money”.

 

Efforts to reach the new police public relations for the Imo State command proved abortive as the victim put several calls to her phone number without a response.

 

The Imo State police command is enjoined to wake up and compliment efforts of the present administration in curbing corruption.

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