I love the Nigerian Police. But I also have a deep hatred for them based on a lot of my experiences with them which I am praying to God for deliverance from.
When I first started driving in Port Harcourt I was relatively green to the unwritten road rules and in the space of 3 months, I had police officers in my car five times, escorting me to the station, negotiating “settlement price” along the way.
A bit of background to my story first of all. I had been happily married for about 1 year and you know how it is in the African society. We were yet to have any sign of a child on the way. So after talking it over with the Mrs, we decided to go to the hospital and be tested or checked. The doctors assured us that the time was too short to start worrying about that but that to be sure we should bring our samples.
Now the sample collection for the man is a bit of a pickle. The specimen must not be contaminated by foreign materials (you know, like vaseline or Jergens) and it must arrive the hospital lab no later than 30 minutes after collection. The option of doing it in the hospital itself was there (you’d be given a sterile room to help yourself and then emerge with your after glow to hand over the sample to a grin-stifling lab intern). Thankfully my house was 15 minutes away from the hospital so my wife and I opted for the collect at home option where we could try and fail and laugh about it until we finally got it right. Oh one last thing, no ejaculations for at least 4 days before you collect, just so the sample is healthy, vigorous and you know, pinging.
This particular morning we finally got it right. I hurried to dress up and began my fast and furious race to the clinic for the deposition of the sample. And then from nowhere this police woman stopped me. She said she had passed our lane all right, but that in my turning left I had deviated from my lane into the left oncoming lane (no lane markings, no barriers), technically driving against traffic for 1 second as I negotiated the bend to turn left. The policewoman jumped in front of my bonnet and glared at me, daring me to run her over in my bid to escape. She was blissfully unaware of the mission critical nature of my trip that morning.
I briefly considered the legal gymnastics of manslaughter/grievous bodily harm to a law enforcement officer and agreed to let her jump in the car. She immediately directed me to the police station while I tried to explain to her that I simply could not be arrested in that particular point in time. In fact, she was delaying me from my appointment! This was music to her ears – the more hurried you are to get to where you are going, the more money you are willing to part with to be let off the hook. Just that this morning, I had no money in the car to get off free like that.
I kicked the engine and started in the direction of the police station. The station was in the same direction as the lab and so I thought quickly as I drove faster to make up for lost time. I had lost 5 minutes already. I had 15 more to go! When we got to the U turn leading to the police station, I gunned the car engine. The police woman shrieked and told me to reverse immediately against traffic, to commit the same crime I was being arrested for. I told her it was against the law to do that and that I would get to the next U turn before turning towards the station. It just so happened to be that the next U turn was the same one that took me to the hospital lab.
She grudgingly agreed and when we got there, I swerved dangerously towards the lab gate, where I had friendly senior police officers on guard duty (it pays to have friends in high places). The lady corporal resumed barking her instructions but I was the one with the brakes and the accelerator and the steering wheel. I drove right up to the police inspector’s van and parked there, shouting for anyone to come to my rescue.
When my Supo (superintendent) friend came to my window I explained to him my offence and the fact that I was to deliver a sample at the lab this morning when this lady decided to be childish. I told him I had decided to bring her to his court so that we could decide the matter there. He smiled and was sympathetic to my case. He informed me that I had committed a new offense: kidnapping a law enforcement officer and that I would have to give her transport fare to get back to her station, while he appealed to her to let the young husband go in light of the life and death nature of his mission that morning.
I turned to the lady officer, smiling and profusely begging her to accept my small offering towards her transport fare. She scowled magnificently at me, snatched the money from my hand, and vanished from my car, never to be seen again.
I checked the time. I had 5 minutes left to get to the lab from the gate. I thanked my supo friend and drove right into the premises with my heart thumping in my throat.