‘The policeman is your friend!’ This statement is dreaded by many Nigerians. This perception is as a result of some reported encounters that many people have had with men of the cloth which led to nasty end-results.
While many have a bitter-sweet relationship with the law enforcers, most admit the vital role the police play in protecting lives and property. Which is why Nigerians need to engage with them to safeguard the country. Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal shares 5 tips on how to deal with a Nigerian policeman.
Stop when he flags you
Policemen have the right to stop and search anyone by virtue of being a law enforcement agency. So, whenever a policeman flags you to a stop, do not hesitate to hit the brakes. Before setting out on your journey, ensure your car particulars are up-to-date and you have a fire extinguisher as well. This will not give them a loophole to exploit. However, ensure that you watch them with an eagle eye so that they will not implicate you.
‘Pidgin English’ otherwise known as vernacular is the easiest way a policeman can communicate with you. With this knowledge, when interacting with them, reply the policeman in English. This will make it easier for them to let you go. They will even think you are a lawyer. However, do not allow your ‘big grammar’ to get you into trouble.
Don’t argue with a gun-wielding policeman
In a buzzing city like Port Harcourt, you do not want anyone to waste time. A police intrusion on a Monday morning is unwelcome by many commuters. Hence, the tendency to argue with a policeman especially a gun-wielding one is possible. It is better you allow them humiliate you rather than argue with them. What you should do is to memorize the policeman’s tag number and report him to a superior officer. But if you do otherwise, the outcome may be nasty.
Know your right
Ignorance is not an excuse under the law. So, try as much as possible to know your right and privileges. It will really come handy when a policeman is attempting to be smart by referencing or quoting non-existent laws. If you are not a lawyer, you will definitely fall for this. Your car may be tolled or you may end up offering a tip to the policeman. At the very least, know the necessary documents to share with share with the police when flagged down.
Respect the policeman
The Nigerian policeman stays on the highway, in our neighbourhoods, in the sun and even in the rain from dusk to dawn to safeguard lives and property. Yet, Nigerians rarely appreciate them. Alternatively, if they are withdrawn from the streets, what do you think will happen? Chaos. The Nigerian police may not be comparable to their American or British counterparts, but at the very least, they are doing their best to keep the country safe.