So let us assume for one moment that this entire story is hypothetical and happened to someone else, not me.
So my younger brother was returning home a couple of days back when the car brakes suddenly failed and the car ran into the one in front of him.
The airbag deployed and the impact dislocated his wrist. As he sat there nursing his wrist, the driver of the car he slammed into dived in through the window of the car and grabbed the car keys.
At first my brother didn’t know who was grappling for the keys with him or why, so he put up as much of a one-handed fight as he could until his “assailant” was identified as the man whose car was hit.
Long story short, they attempted a mediation of sorts but since my brother was not comfortable with the person he hit holding the car keys, they called in a third party and handed the keys over to him.
The man who was hit wanted N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira), to fix his car.
A casual bystander observed that the car, before it was hit and including the spare tyre, was valued at about N75,000.
Make we kuku buy the car na.
But the “victim” refused, even when he was offered N50,000 on the spot.
Okay. So let us fix your car then since the major problem is that you need your car fixed, we’ll do it.
And so, the police were involved.
At this point, there was no longer a need for the third party holding the key and so we collected it back and thanked him very much for his services.
Oya, come and be going na?
For where? Third Party wanted to be paid for key holding services rendered.
So, small money had to part hands on the spot and just for looking like he did not know how to drive and would therefore be less likely to make away with the car in the midst of the confusion, this pally made N500.
It appiyas that in the middle of a dispute, Third Party is NOT your friend..
On getting to the station, the accident victim insisted that he had a special panel beater who would straighten his car. The car needed to be cut in half and joined, we needed to buy a door, hubs, wheels, gearbox, lights… the only thing this man did not need to change in his car as a result of the crash apparently, was his wheel spanner and jack.
Haba. Na we all dey this Naija together o. Abi “recepshon” no reach your end?
Come on, we rationalized. If you were the one who suddenly ran into a tree, would you be thinking of changing all these parts? Or are you just being a typical “you don price, you must pay” Nigerian?
Don’t include your Christmas rice and clothes to the cost of fixing this car o, fear God. It is an ACCIDENT, it could have happened to anyone. We are willing to fix the car TO YOUR SATISFACTION , but let our mechanics and panel beater handle it.
No, the man insisted, it must be his panel beater and the cost must be in the region of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira only), or we follow him to the market and he will buy parts and we pay…
Since we couldn’t reach an agreement, the DPO directed that the matter should be charged to court.
This was after the entire day had been spent in the police station, dragging nonsense.
Okay, we shrugged and agreed to that.
Everyone parked their cars and we left the station.
All the while, the victim was raking and ranting about how he was a big man, an oga in the police, if he drops this car he has a million more at home, he is not a wretched hungry man, etc…
Common N100,000 we could not give him to go and fix his car by himself? Who did we think we were?
Toh, we didn’t think we were anybody o, just that we were in a “recepshon” and everybody knows that in a recession, N100,000 is not common.
Apparently, the person whose car you run into, is also NOT your friend.
About a couple of hours after we had returned from the police station, my phone rang.
It was our mechanic who had spent all day in the station with us.
The man whose car we had hit was in his workshop, pleading that we go back to the station with him so he could withdraw the case. He had seen the folly in insisting we gave him cash to fix the car and was now willing to allow our mechanic fix the car. He had now realised that we are all in this mess called Nigeria together and since he was a kabu kabu driver, it was in his interest that the car was fixed as quickly as possible, not to mention that it could have happened to anybody, blablabla.
Real reason: he had returned home without the car and after narrating the incident to his wife, she had sent him and his greedy behind to the doghouse, not to return until he had reached an amicable conclusion with us.
It appyas, the no nonsense wife of cunny cunny Nigerians IS your friend.
And so, since the police had “closed” and refused to entertain the matter, we found ourselves back at the police station on Monday morning.
The complainant had come to withdraw the case, but the police refused to withdraw it. As far as they were concerned, any matter brought before then must be prosecuted even if the complainant was no longer interested in pursuing the case.
And so, another long day wasted in useless back and forth ramblings all circling the “subject matter” while everyone tried to look holier than the pope and more righteous than Santa Isabella.
Suddenly, one of the inspectors changed tack and started patronising me.
Madam, it is because of you o, if not we would not have withdrawn this matter. You look very gentle (who me?), you don’t like trouble (you reckon?) and I can see you are a very humble person (excuse me for one minute while I laugh into my pocket).
Emmmm, but I am actually making trouble and telling you to go ahead and charge the matter to court since you don’t want to withdraw the case. Where are you seeing all this humbility in me from?
Anyway, the policeman walks out and the police lady calls me aside holding a sheaf of files. You see, the DPO specifically asked us to handle this matter. We are supposed to keep briefing him because he needs to know how this case ended. He said you people refused to make peace on Friday.
So for us to close this case, we need N10,000 (ten thousand naira only).
It is what the DPO charges to close a case file.
It is the normal thing.
I don’t have.
Go and bring and come back.
I don’t have at home.
Do you have N7,000?
What of N5,000?
I don’t have any money.
Nothing at all?
DPO will not be happy o.
What am I paying for? Do you have a receipt?
It is what he normally charges.
Really? Okay na, I don’t have.
We return to the room and sit for a few uncomfortable moments looking around and tapping our feet and then she pulls me aside again..
“Ma, please find us anything you can, even for mineral. This place is hot and we are thirsty. Since morning we have been on this matter and anything at all, even if it is for transport”.
I don’t have. I told her. I will pay your transportation to the mechanic workshop and back but other than that, no shishi.
I returned to the room, and she pulled out the complainant and after a few minutes, he returned with all the bombast completely drained out of him.
As he sat with his shoulders hunched and his head bowed, I couldn’t resist asking:
Shebi na money dem call you make you bring?
Without raising his head, he nodded.
You don see am ba? There for road, we offer you 50k. You no gree, you still go call police. Even as we come here, we tell you say we go fix your car, give you small money on top. You no gree. Oya see na. We don waste all this time wey dem for don nearly use fix your car finish, and police still wan obtain you.
You no sabi say the police is NOT your friend?
Long story short, the case was withdrawn, cars were released and the entire party departed for the mechanic workshop.
Halfway there, I disengaged from the party after providing the policewoman with just enough money to take her there and back (apparently there was no fuel in the police van and it was our responsibility to ensure they could confirm we were in the process of fixing the car as promised), and returned home to get some rest.
Two hours later, my phone rang.
It was the mechanic.
Hello madam, I don look the car finish and e be like say you go first give us tati tauzin naira make we take start work first. If you get tati, if you get forti, just give us so that we can start and finish on time. After, you can balance us the rest?
This was the same mechanic who had been following us around since Friday and insisting that the complainant was trying to rip us off. He had pulled his shirt at least once or twice and threatened to beat people up for not being fair to us. He had promised that he would deliver an excellent job at less than the N50,000 the complainant and his mechanic wanted… far far less in short. He had cursed them for trying to rip us off. He had assured me he would fix the car even if it cost N200,000 and I would not pay a dime because the complainant and his mechanic were “greedy”.
And now it appyas this same knight in shining armor would manage just N30,000 as a deposit to push out the dented side panels of a car and change the rear light.
Na wa for Naija.
It is now confirmed that even the person you thought was on your side is NOT your friend.
So abeg o, make una no vex, WHO is your friend in this country?
And no, this is not a #QuestionForTheGods