Had an encounter driving home from work today.
I was driving on an expressway with a speed of about 80km/h, when i spotted a man a little distance away, dressed in mufti, jump in the middle of the road with a gun by his side, stopping my car. Ordinarily, i had about enough notice to stop the car within two meters of him. I assumed that because i know i have good brakes – he didnt know that. But for a route i ply very frequently and i know there have never been any Police stop (and there still isnt any), i was not sure if i should obey the signal or not.
I finally decided to stop, heart in mouth, with just a meter or so to spare. The guy was very red eyed and obviously annoyed. The eyes were very red and i was not certain this was because of his annoyance. Didn’t see him come out of any drinking joint, but quite a few of them dotted the landscape of that area. He seemed to me he needed little or no provocation to use his gun. He probably was wondering how i could have had the effrontery not to stop when he signaled me to.
He stood there for a few moments, probably thinking of what to do with me. All this while, my heart was still well seated in my mouth, i honestly was still not sure of his identity. After a while, he thought better of having an exchange of words with me, and walked away, across the road into a police station. It was only at that point i became a little convinced that he is a Policeman.
Now the question is, Was i wrong in hesitating to stop? On an expressway, quiet part of town, no zebra sign of any sort, a route where doing less than 80km/h can be constituted as a traffic nuisance, given an almost impossible distance to stop my car and worst still, not been able to quickly identify him as a Police Officer?
But the truth is, even if he were in uniform, would i have been comfortable stopping my car, knowing fully well that the Inspector General of Police has disbanded all check points? And knowing fully well the antics of the men of the underworld in these “ember” period?
Unfortunately, the guy has further reinforced my reservation about the Nigerian Police, who feel that with their instrument of authority – the gun – they can subdue the populace.
By God’s grace, i have lived for some thirty something years and in all this period, i have never been fortunate to meet a professional Policeman. Not that there aren’t any, i just have not been fortunate.