Civilian Police

What an old man will see while sitting, a young man won't see even while on a ladder. I wasn't going to write about this experience due to its sensitive nature, however, recent circumstances demands I do.

Two days ago, I had visited a friend whom I hadn't seen in a while. I actually was more pleased to see him than he was apparently, as I had met him diligently busy with pots in the kitchen. Soon enough, while devouring the yam and egg sauce he had prepared, which I must confess was way better than any I had attempted, we delved into strings of discussions spanning across the university system, banks, the Lagos traffic, life as an immigrant and video games. At this point he decided to go get fuel so we could pit it against ourselves on his console.

Still recovering from the mountain I had consumed, obviously, I had eaten more than the owner of the food, I decided against strutting alongside him and so retiring to his porch, I settled on my newest addition - Detective, the book accompanying this post. That was when everything started.

Actually, I had gotten the book perfunctorily during a book fair held in my school back in April. However the PlayStation in my room, exams and an indecipherable bout of laziness meant I wouldn't even open the first page until last week, and since then, I haven't been able to drop it. So this man, ostensibly a neighbor, came looking for my friend, shouting his name right from the staircase like a Landlord seeking his delinquent tenant.

As he approached, eager to be rid of his ensuing presence, I had shouted back, "E don khomot!" The man, feigning deafness still kept coming, swinging his neck forth and back in abject nonchalance. "Ohh! This guy self. Where e go na?" I didn't reply. "Ehn??" Where did they send this one from again, I had thought, but still grunted a tentative "I no know."

He was about to leave when he saw the book I was reading and smiled. "Shey you want to become a policeman?" I was beginning to get exasperated but still managed to reply. "A detective? Yeah. But not as a Nigerian." Whatever interpretation he made of that, I wouldn't know. But the slight easy-to-miss grimace he made, followed by a full grin meant I was stuck in a maze as to whether he was for or against the prospect of being a Nigerian policeman.

"Why na? Don't you want to protect people's live and property?" He had switched to English, perhaps, in a bid to impress me. "You want me to spend four years in school and then come out to join the most berated security agency in Nigeria? Never that!" I had replied, remembering the latter part of my reply as part of the words a friend of mine in school uses to express his vehemence.

The man continued to stare at me, nonplussed, with his tongue protruding in an obtrusive manner. He was going to add something which I had already deemed irrelevant so I continued.

"Those men are simply corrupt and lackadaisical, they don't deserve to be handed guns. You remember the robbery in Offa? It lasted 3 hours yet they was no police presence, 3 hours! If it was checkpoint duty now, they'd run scrambling off with their deep, dirty pockets." I was going personal, the deep, contorted frown on his face showed it, but I didn't care, after all I was on my own when he decided he needed a chat partner.

At this point I remembered the twitter Q&A session held by the Assistant Inspector General of Police three days ago where someone asked if it was right for the police to search a citizen's phone on the road without cause, so I decided to include him in the conversation, I couldn't leave him spontaneously opening and closing his mouth only.

"What do you think of our protectors searching phones of young men on the way without reason?" He swallowed before replying. "It is necessary I think to curb the rising state of internet fraud". "Hmm, yahoo?" I asked, aware of the answer already. He nodded. This was getting interesting and I had already forgotten I didn't want this conversation initially, my journalist instinct was at its zenith.

"And you think that's the way to end the menace? My friend told me his friend who is a successful player told him they have a new way of circumventing those nefarious searches." I didn't need anybody to tell me I was going overboard now, but my grammar were 'sweeting' me too much to stop at this stage.

"You mean like to escape it?" I nodded. "Wow, how again?" I still gullibly didn't get the hint. "Through an app that hides other apps, I don't really know sha." At this point, the glint in the man's eyes were unmistakable, he was really interested. "Can I have the digits of that your friend?" This one got me skeptical and I didn't like the direction it was headed so I tried changing it with a raspy laughter. "The World Cup would be here soon o, shebi our boys are..." He didn't even let me finish before interrupting. "I said I need the number of your friend."

Hian! Which kind wahala is this, I had thought. Problem was that, there was no friend at all self, I had overhead two guys who came to my mum's store to buy goods say it. But how would I tell this man that was growling already? "He's not my friend, he's my friend's friend. Besides, I can't give out a friend's contact to a stranger na, not like you're a total stranger now anyway", I smiled, trying to make the rejection sound more appealing. His reply would however jolt me from my theatrics. "I'm not asking, I'm demanding!"

That was when it dawned on me - I had been talking with a policeman!

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