My Encounter with a policeman: The feeling I have not outgrown

Police officers on duty

In most civilised countries, the duty of the policemen is not to incite violence or instigate a quarrel no matter how tense the environment appears.

I do not understand why one of the most beautiful things Nigerian police officers do and very quick to achieve is to label everyone they see as first a criminal before they go on to investigate otherwise.

I could remember the other time, I was inside the bus, with other passengers and I sat with an old man in the front seat. A few kilometres away from the park, we met a group of policemen on patrol. They insisted our bus should stop and knowing how violent they are likely to be if the driver had made a move, he slowed down and recovered a more safest place to park, to avoid other plying vehicles from navigating.

The driver, who may have known them, got down from the bus, took a few naira notes from his wallet and dashed to where the policemen pitched their tent.

We were almost frustrated in the car when some passengers began summoning the driver to come take us out from where he wheeled his bus.

A few seconds later, the driver, was already in an open confrontation with one brief policeman, who was terribly insistent he shows him the way to his bus.

There was a barrage of questions in the askance of other luggages inside the bus. He ordered everyone to come down, which we did. Indignant of the situation, I stood aloof. Noticing that I was indifferent, he began looking for a means to ask me a few questions, which I disembarked with silence.

After a while, he saw a sizable bag and ordered that the owner should open it. I was the owner and knowing that I had a few clothes and books inside, I opened it. Recognizing I was the owner and pending to many times he had wanted me to get too comfortable with his attitude, which I wasn’t, asked that I provide the receipt of the bag.

Why will I have to carry the receipt of the bag everywhere I go, the old man who was sitting with me on the bus, reacted. Shouldn’t it be more of electronics and maybe goods probably bought the same day it is conveyed, the old man added.

The debate about the bag and non-provision of the receipt took a lap of time and everyone were growing impatient. Some minutes later, he finally discharged us.

While we were on the bus, I was researching the functions of police officers and I found out that what we underwent was practically not among the functions they are asked to carry out.

I understand how relaxed our country is and how they recruit unrefined men and women to join the police force. The few of them who are cultured are not often found in the road. Despite the fact that our security lapses are at times encouraged by these security agents, yet, we are meant to see that they are doing their work.

Police officers are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities. These functions are known as policing. Not violence. Not engaging in a fist. Not working hand-in-hand with high street bandits to tough out money and properties from people illegitimately.

In case you are not conversant with the functions of Police Officers, I think these may help.
a) to uphold and enforce the law impartially, and to protect life, liberty, property, human rights, and dignity of the members of the public:

(b) to promote and preserve public order;

(c) to protect internal security, to prevent and control terrorist activities, breaches of communal harmony, militant activities and other situations affecting the people.

(d) to protect public properties including roads, railways, bridges, vital installations and establishments etc. against acts of vandalism, violence or any kind of attack:

(e) to prevent crimes, and reduce the opportunities for the commission of crimes through their preventive action and measures as well as by aiding and cooperating with other relevant agencies in implementing due measures for anyone who is faulty.

I am warmed by irritation after that experience and I am yet to meet anyone who has proved otherwise. The more I make journeys, I am not surprised again what they are up to. I have come to make common their embarrassment and they do most of these actions, knowing fully well, that they are not giving a good example.


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