• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
businessday logo


Police, tinted glasses and return of roadblock banking!


One indulgee came running into the Square Table, shouting in very high pitch and the rest of us thought he had gone bonkers! But as we always do at this special table, we thought there was a laugh in it, so we all went – he he he! ha ha ha! That was before anybody, even though we all thought there was something serious about his high-pitch shouting, bothered to ask: “Ol’ boi eh! What is the matter?” To that question the indulgee shouted some more, instead of answering. And this was enough for one indulgee to become really cynical!

“This has everything of a Yoruba television drama about it,” this particular indulgee tells the rest of us. When asked to explain this cynical view, he tells us that he has often watched some sub-titled Yoruba dramas on television, where someone comes onto a scene crying like crazy but when asked to explain what the matter is, he cries some more and then begins an uncontrollable sobbing session! He says this is the point he often loses his patience and changes the channel. End of story!

We weren’t going to end the story on this one. He is a correct indulgee and having come to the Square Table, we weren’t going to allow him go away, fearing he might end up in one of those places the Lagos State government takes people to for traffic offences! As an aside, it would be interesting to really find out how many people the Lagos State government has found to have really lost it as a result of the psychiatric test conducted on drivers who drive against traffic. Or is it that nobody ever gets tested because ‘something’ happens on the way to a psychiatric hospital? Hmmm! Lagos for show! For our indulgee colleague, however, nothing was going to happen on the way to finding out what was making him shout like someone with a loose knot somewhere. “We will get to the bottom of this, wherever the bottom is!”

As the chief indulgee presiding over today’s proceedings, it is my responsibility to ensure we do not lose this one, for like they often say, “One indulgee out of the fold diminishes the collective strength that we all have.” So, here I go! “Please stop shouting so we can understand you! You are talking and not talking at the same time because no one can understand a word of what you are saying,” I say to him so he knows the pain he is putting our ears and our sanities to.

Now, as if acting out a scene from a Yoruba movie or drama script, he proceeded to shout some more. Well, we know him not to be an actor. At least, since he started turning up for this Square Table meeting, he has never told us he was an actor; and no one has ever said they saw him in any of the home videos whether shown on terrestrial, cable television or even watched in the comfort of any home on DVD! We have looked closely at him, and he doesn’t look like “Saka the Porter”. Even if he was, he wouldn’t be shouting, he would be rejoicing for surviving the poverty some people wanted to subject him to by paying him peanuts when there is now something like football’s “sign-on fees” for jumping ship in personality branding commercials!

Someone suggested asking if this indulgee was from Ogbomosho like the lady downstairs, from whom I have occasionally had to endure some peculiar shouting attack when trying to make her point on a subject dear to her heart!

“Stop shouting, because the way you are going this meeting will not be able to form a quorum, not because there aren’t enough people to do so, but because your shouting is drowning voices in a way that makes them useless and uncountable to register them present at this meeting.” That was me beginning to assert my authority as chief indulgee, hehehe! And that had an immediate effect because immediately he heard that, he suddenly stopped shouting.

“I wasn’t actually shouting,” he began. “I was laughing, or was I not? Did it not come out as laughter?” He asked, getting other indulgees at the Square Table very angry. One indulgee even had to tell him, “Look here, look here! We have been attending this gathering for many years and nobody has laughed that way and we are known to really have a good laugh here. If you call that laughter, then go home and scare people at home instead of coming here to spoil our fun-poking business.”

On hearing this chastising, he suddenly came round, apparently realising that he had actually come round to the Square Table gathering to de-stress himself from what Nigeria unleashes on her citizens on a daily basis. “I am sorry, fellow indulgees,” he began, in his attempt to make us understand what all his “shouting entrance” into today’s meeting was all about. “It is the police again o! And it is also my phone company o!”

The police? His mobile phone company? What did they do to him? “Have you guys not seen what the Nigerian policemen have started doing? Hmmm! Or are you people not in this country?” He began to open up.

When the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, was appointed, his first move was to ban police roadblocks on our roads and highways. Everybody hailed him, but we all know that he must have got the managing directors (DPOs) of those “Road Banks Nigeria Limited” really furious. As everything in Nigeria, in recent times, it would seem that when one door is closed, another one must either be opened or forced open. What we now see is that doors are being forced opened by the police for the re-emergence of Road Banks Nigeria with the recent attempt to enforce the law on the use of tinted glasses on vehicles.

What we have seen is that either DPOs and some unscrupulous policemen (unworthy of the uniform they put on) have unleashed themselves back on the road and have seen an opportunity in this tinted glasses policy to harass the life out of people and begin another road of extortion. The other day, a driver was stopped and he showed his police permit. That was not satisfactory to the police sergeant, who may actually have been looking at the paper upside down, since that was not his interest.

“Wind down! Wind down!” the policeman shouted.

“Why should I wind down again?” the driver asked.

“Just wind down! Just wind down! Or you park. In fact, PARK! PARK! PARK!” That was the policeman barking.

Hmmm! You would have thought that having got approval, a civil policeman would commend you as a good citizen and allow you to go about your daily life without any harassment! Well, not so in Nigeria! Every opening is an opportunity for the unworthy policemen (and women) to revive roadblock banking!



[email protected]/en