I was jejely (small small) on my way to work last Wednesday when I decided to follow google maps because of traffic to show me other possible routes I could take. Now unbeknownst to me, aunty google landed me in a one-way street.
I was busy thinking to myself—hmmm which road is this? Maybe this can be my new route oh, it seems close to the office. But why are some men in purple T-shirts asking me to wind my glass down?
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What is going on? I said to them, thinking they thought me to have lost my way.
Unknown men: why are you driving one way?
Me: I did not know this was one way, as you can see aunty google is the one giving me directions.
Unknown men: you should know google can’t say which one is one way and which isn’t, the sign is right there.
Me: I did not see the sign if I did, do you think I would still proceed?
Then one of them slipped his hands through the crack of my window and forcefully opened the door, in response (and anger), I slammed it right back and in the process breaking my already fragile nails.
Why in the world would you open my car? Who gave you the right? Is it your car? How dare you?!
Then his partner tried to calm me down. With him busy saying it was his job to do so and brought out an ID card. At that point, I did not care if it was the deputy governor or Sanwolu himself who decided to gain access into my vehicle; as far as I was concerned they had no right to encroach on my space.
I am a young woman in a country where police officers have been accused of taking advantage of women and you empower your officials to be of threat to people like me by letting them open people’s cars and make themselves comfortable while asking their victims to drive. In what civilized world is such an act allowed to take place? I committed a traffic offense quite alright and ignorantly if I might add, but that does not give you automatic access into my car, my personal space. Excuse me; I don’t know you, like that!
For the sake of safety reasons alone; perpetrators can pose as government officials and coerce you into letting them enter your vehicle. If that quickly turns out to be a kidnapping stint, robbery, rape or even death, who will fight for the cause of the victim?
This archaic way of doing things needs to come to an end.
The task force doesn’t do this; I have been pulled over by them before. All they did was ask for my license and wrote me a ticket. I paid for it and got my license back. Is that too much to ask for? These people have vehicles assigned to them; can’t they drive behind me, while leading me to the station to pay the fine allotted to driving one way or are they scared of people escaping?
Then the ridiculous amount of money they ask you to pay for a fine makes no darn sense! It definitely doesn’t fit the crime. You penalize citizens for little mistakes; meanwhile the obstacle course that I have to participate in every week just to get to work is begging for your audience; the gaping potholes in the middle of the roads, the poor road network, and lack of law enforcement in areas where they are truly needed.
Should I sue the government for the damages done to my car or just quietly sit at home and watch while the whole country migrates (with the hopes of a better life) to greener pastures. I don’t blame our citizens any longer; the government has failed us. They have empowered people to look for opportunities to make money off their citizens. So why should people not run away?
You get to the place where they set up camp called the police station, with no functional amenities as electricity is still a challenge. Government schools have nothing on what we refer to as law enforcement offices. With their employees eating ewedu and amala at ten o'clock in the morning, in front of a person trying to explain their plight, without really paying any attention to what is being discussed because their mind has been made up.
Table made of local wood paired with plastic chairs, with a television set and a ceiling fan to cool the room from the 90s when I grew up, colleagues disturbing the peace in the atmosphere and outsiders trying to sell their market, all happening in a police station.
Tell me why any parent would finish educating their child and let them go into law enforcement? Is that a place anyone would want their child to be in? What is so appealing about the career? Most of them end up becoming beggars anyway with you wondering if they are not getting their monthly salary or if it’s just greed!
The annoying thing is that the resources are available; if they weren’t this article would take a different turn. Rather than spending money on frivolous things, how about resources get allocated into the right channels like educating and revamping the law enforcement system in Lagos? Or the country as a whole.
Educate your officials, offer incentives for people with interest in joining law enforcement. Show them that they can have a lucrative career with packages that would benefit their families as well because they put their lives on the line for their citizens each day (in a perfect world), and then watch things improve.
It is time for a change: we need a better law enforcement system that is actually for the citizens and not against them.
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About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer, and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.