Now that our agitation have ended SARS, let us also brood over some very glaring facts.
SARS existed nationwide. But the ones in the south were the bad eggs except we want to deceive ourselves. Over 95 percent of the SARS members in the south were Southerners. So we are talking about Southerners brutalizing and extorting Southerners.
Once upon a day. I was riding around Ojodu-Berger in the car of a movie producer that I was working with. The police were at the foot of the Berger bridge doing ‘stop and search’.
They found “fake gun props” in the booth of the car and said we must come with them to Isheri police station to explain what the gun props were meant for. I was livid with rage that the producer carried those things in his booth without getting permits from the police which was the appropriate thing to do.
But I said we will deal with that later. My first thought was how to handle these policemen first. Before we could explain, one of the policemen looked at me and said “I know this one. Na actor.”
I was relieved so I told him that we were going to Magodo-Isheri to shoot an armed robbery scene and that the gun props were meant for that purpose. He lectured us about how SARS would have shot us in our legs before asking for explanations. He said we should be thankful that it wasn’t SARS that saw those props.
I immediately noticed that he was Igbo from his name tag. So I quickly switched to Igbo language. Somehow he saw that my Igbo wasn’t fluent so he asked me if I am “one of these Igbo guys who were born and raised in Lagos.”
I lied to him that my wife was Igbo and she is the one that was teaching me. He seemed impressed and pulled me to the side.
Once we were away from the others, he told me that we should bring N100,000 to settle the matter because if it gets to the station we will be locked up. I relayed the message to the movie producer. That one started shouting at the top of voice and said they should take us to the station.
Then he asked them if a certain woman was still their DPO. They told him that the woman had been transferred. Immediately his voice lost it’s bass and he almost strated pleading. Apparently he was shouting because he knew the female ex-DPO.
So I pulled the Igbo officer to the side again and asked him to help me. He said firmly that if we cannot raise N50,000 we should forget it. I begged and begged but he remained adamant.
Just then one of the policemen whose name tag showed that he was either middle belt or core north stepped to us and asked what is happening. The Igbo chap told him I am not serious and that I am not speaking well. The northern/middle belt guy asked me what I want done.
I switched to Hausa language and told him that we don’t have a dime to give them and that I need his intervention. Without uttering a word he went back to their van where they had kept the gun props which they have seized.
He handed them to me and told me in Hausa language that next time we should ensure that we don’t move around with those props without getting a police permit. Then he switched back to English and said: “You people are free to go.”
The Igbo officer was protesting but he got overulled by the northern guy who obviously was of higher rank. Now, I admit that we were wrong to have moved around with gun props in a car without getting a cover letter from the authorities but I still wonder why the Igbo chap who had recognized me could not let us go without taking advantage of the situation.
It took a northern guy who was probably seeing me for the first time to intervene simply because I spoke his language. That’s why I say we should take a minute to reflect on what actually transpired.
It is beyond SARS. The entire police force needs some cleansing. But the ones that call themselves Southerners should tell us why they prey on their fellow Southerners with impunity and reckless abandon.
Within Edo State and on the Benin-Lagos expressway all the policemen who park passenger vehicles and ask all young men to come down so that they can search their phones and look for Yahoo Boys to extort speak southern dialects. #fact
It is a dog eat dog situation. Southerners draining the life out of Southerners.