In Nigeria, the men of the Nigerian Police Force have always been the bully of innocent citizens. They are known to threaten you with their guns especially when you refuse to do their biddings. In the city of Lagos, the fear of the police became the beginning of wisdom. They were demigods on the streets and highways.
According a commercial driver, they were the ATM machines of the police. Every day it was the same routine. They must part with a certain amount of money. It was like paying homage and giving tributes to the gods of the land. A Keke (commercial tricycle) driver said “Oga, na every day I dey drop N600 give one police man. Any day I no see the man, I go pay am the number of days I dey owe am”.
All these extortions and bullying came to an end when about 27 police stations were burnt and policemen killed by hoodlums who had hijacked the EndSARS protest to unleash mayhem on the state and the Nigerian Police Force. To the commercial drivers, they are happy as they no longer part with their hard earned cash as it used to be. According to some of them, the attacks had humbled the erring police officers and also sent a signal to them that they are humans as well as being vulnerable. The attacks by the same hoodlums who they used to help them collect money from the commercial drivers were the ones who burnt down their stations and then attacked them.
Tunji (not real name) a police officer said “When I saw the video of one of the hoodlums holding the head of a colleague as if it was the head of a goat, I knew that we had really angered the people. Nobody tells a blind man that it is raining”. This is the situation. The police officers are humbled. They no longer demand for money or extort commercial drivers. It is no longer business as usual. Every police officer is working with caution and watching their backs. For Tunji, he was not just scared for himself alone but that of his family because these hoodlums know where the families of every police man lived.
There is so much fear within the ranks of the police as they now believe that riots can happen anytime and they are the ones who will be the target and victims. The police officers no longer frequent the streets as it was where all the police officers are seen all over the city setting up road blocks both legal and illegal. The police have faced their duties working diligently and with humility in order not anger the citizens. The issue of the EndSARS movement is still volatile and they know about that. Everyone is being cautious.
Photo credit: Channels Television