Corruption series: Road tax… The Nigerian police!

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Its not a secret that the Nigerian police whose slogan is “the police is your friend”, have taken it upon themselves, whether as individuals or a collective group, to give another meaning to that slogan.

Road tax/Robbery/Contribution is the “little fee”, collected by various Law enforcement agents assigned to the various road networks in Nigeria.
This issue of daylight robbery by the same people we should in normal circumstances, put all or most of our trust in, is now regarded as normal by most/all of the national populace. This is a daring situation, where a low class/average road user is stopped on the road, and “the green card” is requested. And in the event of a refusal by an individual who believes he knows his right, trouble is perceived to be the next stop.

Road tax, would have otherwise been known as “security fee”, if only they really do protect. Instead it Puts us all in fear of our roads. The really bad ones get away, if they get to “water the outstretched hands”, while the innocent are found guilty if they don’t agree to “drop something”.

This has a very bad influence even on our economic situation and on inflation.

For example, if a bus driver has to give money to every police checkpoint, increase in road transport fares are justified. Also, the trader who uses any form of road transport to transport goods, will be forced to increase the prices of those goods. Attributing the increase to the high cost of transportation, which was instigated by the event of “Road-Tax-collectors”. Most people have chosen to remain in the clouds about such abusive instances, while some very few ones make their ordeal known to the next person, but still all to no avail.

But does that mean we have to remain “victims” to daylight molestation, neccessitated by our own avarice and silence? The answer, as proven by the need to write about it, is, a NO… If this “tax”/”extortion”, offers us a bit of trust in the security system, it won’t have been a big problem, even if its wrong. But its all part of the farce of a security we are forced to believe in. Not that we really do anyways. And why should we?
When in the face of glaring danger, they are nowhere to be found, and are almost always late and ineffective, in cases where they eventually respond.

The present state of the country, can therefore, in more ways than known, be blamed on these frivolous things, as we suppose they are; that make miserable, an average road user’s daily life.

If a country will grow and truly develop, it needs to start from the foundations/grass roots. Thus, leading to a healthy growth in all sectors. But, a defect in one sector affects the whole system and causes a stunted growth or even none at all. This incidence has been going on for years, and is still on the rise.

Again Bringing up the questions; why hasn’t something been done about it? And another question which might as well pose as an answer from the government to the general public– what if the government doesn’t know about this? What if they have decided to keep a blind eye to the issue since the affected citizens don’t even care to talk about it? Afterall, there are many more issues to be handled in the situation room. The truth thus presents itself, that although the system is also to be blamed, the silent victims are to be blamed more. We are afflicted by our decisions, conscious or not, to remain silent and act ignorant of our right to passage and movement without necessary restriction and without “pay-pass” or “pay as you go”, as some call it.

Yet more questions arise… How is it that the same people who are supposed to help fight corruption are as corrupt as they come? Who in that sector is to be blamed? The indifferent leaders? Or the unjustly followers? How it came to this, no one knows, but why nothing has been done to control it, further eludes my imaginations. It might be taken as the simplest of extortions, but all the same, still a form of extortion. And the constitution does not permit it. Therefore it is illegal. And should be fought by the law. Raising the problem… What arm of the law should censor the police?

On the other hand, it might just be as the supposed name implies, a government implemented tax, although illegal. If its not, then why won’t the government do something about it? Cos, as a matter of fact, the shameful act is on the rise, rather than being subdued. Its no longer the “green card”(#20) that is on request at the various checkpoints, but the “sky” (#50)… Hilarious as it seems, I bet you will have to agree that they are being encouraged rather than discouraged.

Even the acclaimed armed robber doesn’t see any difference between what he’s doing and what they are doing. The only differences might be the difference in clothing and time of work. As they are both on a large scale and there’s more than one person involved in each case.

What can be done?

The police should have mobile hotlines which they should make known to the general public and encourage them to call in any such act, whether they are affected or not. And external disciplinary agencies should be set up. Every citizen should be conscious of the fact that he/she has a right to a lawyer at any point and should not hesitate to use that advantage. Also, the Government might look to increase the wages of law enforcement agents, so that there’d be no excuse for such an inexcusable act. And of cos there are more things that can be done about this if the government and the masses really get serious about stumping this form of corruption away. The government spends big money on EFCC, who’d rather go for supposedly corrupt individuals rather than obviously corrupt institutions/sectors in the government.

But the most important form of preventing this wildfire from escalating further, is by creating awareness and letting the public know what’s really wrong in the system and how they can help fight it… in this country, we’ve been on the fight to eradicate corruption, I wonder, why don’t we start from the supposedly little things like this one?

With all hands on deck, and with efforts and measures put in place, am quite sure we’d really get to the days of “to serve and to protect” and justly too… Thereby re-arranged thus, ” to serve and to protect, justly”. That is the way of justice, and without doubt, will be a major step towards tackling corruption in the social and administrative sectors.

God bless the Nigerian Police sector.
God bless Nigeria!!!

Look forward to the next topic in the series, coming to you in the next few days…

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Thumbs up man, but I think u shud lay some blame on the citizen that reaches into his pocket n provides the ‘sky’. Face it man…Nigeria is corrupt, as in u n I.

  2. Lovely writeup,nice and a very bold choice of topic too,informative n reformative,God bless nija n God bls u…

  3. Nice write-up, though to put it figuratively, this may be flogging a dead horse. In the sense that, we all know what the police does on the road, as you said it has been happening for years and years now, many newspaper editorials and articles have talked about this, yet the government authorities have not done anything about it up till now. But to be fair, not only the nigerian police, but the Nigerian public as a whole, right from the top of the government down to the common civilian is implicit in this practice.

    I think this report sums it up pretty much.

    Nigeria’s Civil Servants Took $3B Bribe Last Year http://t.co/FNxqnXE

    Looking forward to your next piece.

  4. A well written piece. Nigerian Police is a huge problem for Nigerians. I don't believe Nigerian Police have the protection of the citizens at heart. I consider them the worst police force in the world. Are they actually trained?

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