By Emmanuel Adebayo, Nigeria:
It is a sad thing when your supposed protectors who feed off your taxes become your worst nightmare. Such is the case with the Nigerian Police! Everyone avoids them; one develops a headache once one sees them on the road. Changing their uniforms hasn’t done much good, not that it was ever meant to change their attitude, and their presence is enough trigger for a heart attack. They truly are the last set of people you want to see on your way to work in the morning or on your way back home after the day’s hard work.
I watched in horror this morning as a policeman harassed a fellow human being just because he had a uniform to protect him! He had seized the keys to a young man’s motor cycle under the claim that the young man had carried two passengers on his motor cycle. The guy insists that he hadn’t had more than a passenger and he had witnesses to prove his point. The passenger was present with him testifying to his claim, but the police man refused and threatened to beat the living day light out of the man. This was where I lost it – I had to walk away from the scene because knowing the Nigerian police well, if I had done what I had in mind, the young man with the bike would not get his keys back in a week! I quietly walked away to let off my steam somewhere else. But it was indeed a pitiful sight, the young man pleaded with the policeman kneeling on the ground, to my utter disgust! When did the police become gods? Are they not to protect and serve humanity? I wonder how turned around to become the problems of the society!
The most unfortunate thing is, there are quite a number of these people who are polite and know their jobs, but there seem to be more bad eggs than there are the good ones. What’s the point of their stop and search, I’ve asked myself, what are they looking for? They just stop cars at random and waste your time, looking for nothing in particular just looking for a way to make you miserable whilst enriching their pockets.
What do we do? Do we send them all home? Heck No!!! That will be digging our own graves! But I think it’s time Nigerians knew their rights. Education of the people is so important; I don’t mean going to school, I mean knowing what the constitution says, knowing what your right as a Nigerian is, don’t let anyone just trample on you because they’re wearing some sort of uniform! Wake up Nigerians, by the time the policemen (most of whom I’m sure don’t even know what the constitution says or what their duties are and extent of their authorities) realizes that people know their rights and privileges they would stop their unruly, unlawful and unreasonable acts.
I for one am getting interested in the constitution more these days, I’m tired of being bullied by a school drop out!
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