Early this month I found myself at Hardrock Café for the MTV Base Road to MAMA press conference/party. The press event was scheduled to start by 7pm, so I thought by 9 it would be over, and I’don’t be on my way home, to my lovely bed.
One thing led to the other and the press conference was delayed, so by the time the press conference ended it was 10pm. I have a thing against being out alone at night. It’s a creepy world.
So I opened my uber app, but what did I see? A surge- that thing that happens sometimes and triples your fare- When I checked my estimated fare, I swallowed and started thinking, what is wrong with staying for the party? Last musical event I attended had been in 100level when Star Trek visited my school. So I stayed.
The MTV party was lit, LIT I tell you. I was glad I waited. (Thank you Uber surge)
So it was 3am. It was time to go home. I was going home with some friends. We were 4, 3 guys and me. We started the drive from VI to Ikeja. We talked about the party, music criticism in Nigeria, the MTV MAMAs etc. After some minutes a policeman flagged us to stop. The guy driving stopped.
Make una give me something.
The guy driving laughed, the policeman laughed. That Nigerian kind of laugh that doesn’t go past the throat, that laugh that sounds one-kind.
Nothing dey o oga
You know say na we dey keep ground tight for una
They laughed again, after some seconds of awkward hahahas the policeman waved us on.
We drove off, and returned to our conversation. My mind drifted off, yes, the police are the reason we can drive by 3am in Lagos without fear. You cannot drive by 3am in Warri (who you be?)
The police are actually doing good work in Lagos I thought. The one we just passed looked very tired. I began to think of all the things the government can do to make the lives of policemen better. Give them better pay, good weapons, cars, change that bloody uniform and remove that stupid colonial elephant from the uniform.
We got to Ikeja. The friend I was going with lived in GRA, so we started navigating inside. I was still thinking about our dear Police. How their jobs can be safer and more attractive. Just then a group of policemen stopped us.
We parked. They asked for IDs, we showed them. It was not enough. This particular set of policemen were not smiling at all.
Come down. Come down!!!
They asked the boys to get down. I was in the car, nobody talked to me. The police began to check the boys, emptied their wallets, went through business cards. This was almost 30 minutes. Wow. These men ignored me in the car o.
They stopped another car did the same thing, asked the men to get down, checked their pockets and wallets and ignored the two women in the car.
Well, this was one night I did not mind being ignored. I was too tired for police wahala, but it didn’t stop me from feeling off. I no be human being? I was thinking this when one of them flashed a light on my face.
Ah, finally. You noticed a human being is here.
I came down, he checked my bag, his eyes stopped on the press tag I had. He flashed his light on my face again, then waved us off.
Make una dey go
Haba, what were they looking for?
But we were all tired after the ordeal. So nobody talked. This is the Nigerian police we know.
Less than five minutes from where they stopped us was a strip club. Outside it, I spotted people smoking ‘something’ wrapped thinly in white paper.
Sigh, The Nigerian Police.
They are the elephant in the Nigerian room.