Award winning and investigative reporter, Kunle Faleye has shared a sad and troubling encounter he had in Lagos with an officer of the Nigerian Police force.
The BBC reporter made this known in a series of tweets on his official twitter handle.
See his tweets below…
I had an encounter with a policeman today and it further reinforces my belief that we are in deep shit in this country. It wasn’t the usually hostile police encounter. It was actually one friendly one. Here’s what happened.
I had an encounter with a policeman today and it further reinforces my belief that we are in deep shit in this country.
It wasn't the usually hostile police encounter. It was actually one friendly one.
Here's what happened
— Kunle Falayi (@KFalayi) May 8, 2019
I sat down at my mechanic’s listening to music with headphones on and a policeman tapped me. I immediately sized him up. A lot of things jumped at me as very strange the moment he tapped me.
First of all, this man was one of the most polite policeman I have encountered this year. Believe me, there are many good policemen around. But it is still feels strange when one approaches you with politeness.
I have come across policemen who would refuse to be polite even when they are asking your for “something for pure water”.
So he was polite, right? His politeness was just different. As I rose to hear why he came to disturb my musical reverie this afternoon, he let go of the hand I extended to greet him. That is point 2 for me.
A policeman who wants to get something from you on Naija streets would likely hold on to your hand as he makes his ‘friendly’ demand from you. It always annoys me Yet, this guy is different.
As I stood up, he stepped aside and said, ‘I am sorry to disturb you this afternoon, I need your help’ My distrustful Naija sense quickly kicked in. ‘How do you think I can help you, sir?’
He smiled abashedly and said ‘Could you please spare some money so my friend and I can eat?’ I gestured with his head towards where a second policeman sat in a van few meters away.
I noted his choice if words as the 3rd point. This is definitely not a usual encounter. I studied his face. Friendly face. Not drunk. Clean uniform and well built. I am not a giant. Bht at my 6ft, this man towers over me.
Usually, at this stage, according to my usual police encounter, his next sentence should be: ‘Oga, at all at all na im bad pass’ or something in the line of ‘As God don bless you with this kain moto, I trust you say you go fit bless me too bros’. But no.
He said, ‘I understand, but we have small beans in the car, anything would help’. This man has got to be the best actor in the police force or he is the sincerest policeman in the country. I chose to believe the latter.
I opened my wallet and gave him an amount that made his facial expression say, ‘ah, I wasn’t asking for up to this before na’ But he gave the most genuine smile I have ever seen on the face of a Nigerian policeman and bowed to a point that embarassed me.
Oga police shook my hand with both hands and walked away. And the encounter caused a commotion in my brain. This should never have to happen. I know a lot of people would say policemen beg for money all over the country but…
Policemen who have guns with which they can exact their will either legally or illegally should never have to beg for money. This encounter wasn’t a feel-good one. It was depressing, as depressing as the case of anybody who earns a salary but still have to beg for money.