“Driving to work this morning, I drove past Stanbic IBTC bank in Aguda, next thing I heard were sporadic gunshots and things hitting my windscreen and car. Instinctively, I ducked. I didn’t know what was going on. I tentatively looked up and saw the mobile policemen in front of the bank laughing and hi-fiving themselves and one was cocking his rifle.
I was stunned. Obviously it must not have been something major, else why the hell would they be laughing. Something caught my eye on the passenger seat beside me, I looked and saw a spent cartridge/shell/whatever it’s called on the seat. I recoiled in horror, turned and drove straight into the bank. I came down and saw 3 other shells on the partition between the windscreen and the hood cover.
These policemen were basically shooting at 9am for no reason and their spent shells were what I heard hitting the windscreen and car. I went to the bank security officer and asked him why the policemen were shooting. He said and I quote…”one of them come resume with them so them dey welcome am”
What I could deduce from the security guy was that the policemen were welcoming one of their colleague with gunshots. Wonderful! When did the police start welcoming themselves with gunshots? Shooting into the air? No robbery in progress? Nothing was happening. They were just flossing. Welcoming themselves. *smh*
So I went to the policemen and demanded to know why they were shooting at 9am. Was there a robbery in progress at Stanbic? No. What was happening? These men looked me in the eye and denied shooting. I was mad. I showed them the shells and the one that even deigned to speak with me told me I must have been mistaken. And he was reeking of alcohol. The remaining three had disappeared when they heard me asking questions.
So I did the next thing I could think of. I went to Aguda Police Station to file a complaint. I got there and explained what happened and showed them the shells even the one on the seat beside me. Guess what the officer said…
“Madam, why you sef no wind up?”
That’s when I lost it. And the crase I always carefully hide just had to come out. Oh, it was not a pretty sight. I demanded to see the DPO. I explained what happened to him and asked a simple question.
“In the absence of a robbery or interaction with a suspect, is shooting in the air to greet or welcome a colleague normal police procedure? ”
The DPO apologised and told an officer to call the policemen at the bank back to the station. The officer came back and said he met no policemen there. They had all dispersed. I drove back to the bank and asked the security guy where the policemen were. This guy changed story o. “No be here dem shoot. I no hear any sound.” Even when people around said they heard the gunshots and had to hide for safety, this stupid buffoon of a security guy was still lying.
I went into the bank and demanded to see the BM. When we went out to meet the security man, the fool was still lying, I told him I recorded his previous conversation with me where he told me they were shooting to greet their colleague and showed him a picture of one of the shells, that was when the idiot backpedalled and admitted that indeed the policemen were shooting. The BM called an assistant and told him to call the policemen, one now appeared and started begging.
Long story short. Everybody started begging. I wasn’t here for the begging. I just needed to know why the police would think it necessary to just shoot in the air for no reason. Anyway, Bank Manager begged. Police begged. Security guy begged. Bank Manager said they would write a report to the station. Smh. Police said they would deal with the guy. *smh*
I ranted, shouted, screamed, popped my veins, used all the expletives in my dictionary and demanded to know why my tax money spent to buy bullets was being used to greet their friend because he resumed work.
As all this was happening, the irony was not lost on me. Nigeria is shitty but I tore those mobile police guys a new one. I protested and screamed and shouted and I didn’t have to fear for my life. I was too angry to care. Blacks in America don’t get to question the police. Your skin colour makes you a suspect. You can be killed because of a busted tail light. You can’t scream and question the police at the police station. Your ass would be thrown into holding. Heck, they can kill you even when your kids are in the backseat. During the whole drama, I reached into my bag several times to pull out my phone, I didn’t have to fear that a trigger happy-power drunk police officer would think I’m reaching for a gun and shoot me in the chest. Black people in America don’t have that luxury and that’s why#BlackLivesMatter. That’s why #BlackLives should Matter. How can you be so scared of living in your own country because of the colour of your skin? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
This morning, I was grateful I live in Nigeria.”
Olufunke Phillips on Facebook