“See, you will pay 10% out of your recovered money” said a policeman at Mokola police station, Ibadan.
How it started?
Sometimes in January this year (2018) during examination period, I lost my bag which contained my mobile phones and some other valuable items. After the ugly incident, I made it to the police station for a police report and to investigate who the criminal was because the suspect also did a fraud transaction with my bank account.
On that Wednesday afternoon, I found my way to Sango police station and behold, I was shocked when a middle-aged policeman told me I had to drop some amount of money for them in order to carry out the investigation. “Oh! is this a joke?” I asked myself in confusion but seriously it wasn’t a joke and that made me to lose interest in the case. Lo and behold, the policemen refused to help me investigate because I couldn’t pay them in cash for investigation.
So many things ran through my mind after the incident. One, why on earth should victim of a criminal act pay those employed and under salary payment to rescue him? Two, why should the police commercialise investigations? Now I understand why criminals walk freely on the streets peacefully. It is because our police understand only the coloured notes, they don’t care from whose hands it is coming from.
I thought that was the end of the case. I thought the criminal who defrauded me and also stole my belongings had gone without being nabbed.
Interestingly, on a wonderful Monday morning, 3rd of December this year to be precise, a gentleman from Stanbic IBTC bank called me that the owner of the account which my money was transferred to has been arrested and taken to the nearest police station at Mokola police station.
Oh! pardon me, I forgot to mention earlier that I had reported the fraudulent act to Stanbic bank when I got the details of the suspect from my bank, since then I think the bank had been after him. After like ten months of lost hope, I visited the police station again, I saw a young lady who was also robbed and defrauded by some guys as well as the suspect in question. (This was after the federal government increased the police salary and this made me to be more relaxed, but nothing really changed to my surprise.)
After the whole story, we were told to make estimation of what was stolen from us — I made mine as well as the innocent lady in hijab — but funnily, the policemen handling the case made theirs also and which was 10% each from our own estimations of what the criminal had to return back to us. I laughed in pity, despite the increment in the salary of these people, muttering to myself, so corruption hasn’t left them?
Recently, the salary of policemen was increased ( a police constable, the lowest rank police, now earns #84,000 monthly), we thought that might reduce the level of bribery and corruption among them but it seems their white cloth has been badly stained and it can’t be cleaned again. For many citizens who are victims of criminal acts, the hope of free and fair investigation has been lost if they have no money to give the men and women in charge of investigation. Welcome to Nigeria, where you have to pay the police for investigations. Should we keep hoping that corruption will one day pack its load and leave our policemen?
Before I rest my pen:
Like what the holy book says that if the foundation is faulty what can the righteous do? Nothing! Bribery and corruption has became a norm sitting comfortably in our police stations, taken over the minds of many of our police. Increase their salaries! That won’t still stop them from bribery, it’s just like a pig dressed with beautiful garment, the mud will still be its playing ground.