By Iorver Mande
The Nigerian police have made millions of naira from traffic light offenders across the country but more mind boggling is the Lagos scenario by the Lagos Rapid Response squad (RRS) patrol team on motor bikes and a host of others.
Be it at their stations or on patrol, it is an act of stealing in a broad day light; at any time a motorist is arrested, passengers are asked to drop and one out of the team will enter the front seat with the driver and negotiation will continue as the other officers drive ahead to a corner where money will be dished out for them to release you. They don’t carry receipt of any kind for fees paid by traffic offenders contrary to what road safety officers do. May be, they are supported by the superiors to whom they remit returns after a day’s extortion of road users because if not no authority will claim ignorance on this.
It is worrisome and disturbing for one to keep quiet on a canker worm like this. The police role in our society is too pivotal for us to ignore any corrupt practice from it; they raid drug dealers a job done by NDLEA, fake consumables a job done by NAFDAC, they check driving licence an FRSCN job, arrest illegal foreigners an Immigration assignment, arrest illegal imported goods – customs job, check fuel prices a job of PPPRA, the list is endless on how involving the police are and as the most utilized security agency that has ever existed.
When you go to a police station, it is written and pasted that bail is free but for once it has never been free. It is rather the courts that one could ordinarily think that bail cannot be free that ends up making it free, where a court will grant one bail on self recognizance without any other condition attached to it. A police officer will rather tell in plain terms why it is more preferable for you to bribe him than for him to take you and your vehicle to the station.
With the introduction mobile courts by the Lagos state government otherwise known as the Special Offences Court to deal with growing cases of traffic and environmental abuses in the state it is doubtful whether the police will enable it to produced the intended result or frustrate the development by diverting all offenders to pay straight to them because nobody will want his name to be spoilt by being convicted by this court.
At the explosion of population, traffic challenges are increasing and security needs are not just necessary but should be efficient void of malpractices of any kind. The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade confirmed the challenges and said that the end has come to the era of recklessness and impunity on our public roads and highways and regretted that until now unruly road users, who daily cut the lives of innocent citizens short and caused traffic snarl leading to wastage of productive hours on the roads, will no longer go unpunished.
The molestation of road users by the police is an endless tale and the right time to nip in the bud is now that the change mantra is pronounced and widely accepted by Nigerians. It will not be a surprise for one to say that if corruption is addressed in the police command all other sections tied down by the menace will be corrected instantly.