I still did not know why I decided to join the Nigeria Police Force. Except that the devil in me kept telling me that, that is where my purpose lies.
My mom had continuously advocated against my adventure to join the Police Force. She said Policemen are corrupt and brutal, their women are more or less official prostitute. She said I might die if I join the force. I pretended as though I needed hearing aids for me to heed are candid advice.
Indeed, I needed an amplifier to hear her concerned heavy warning, because, I always had my invincible ear-piece on any time she gave her ted-talk on “the dangers of joining the Nigerian Police Force”. Even though she knew I could not hear a single word of her sermon, she kept talking anyway, just as I, also, applied and joined the Force anyway.
I hardly remember one person who encouraged me to go ahead with the supposed suicide mission, except my brother who believed that my unemployed status is a disease that is contagious. He didn’t want to graduate from the university to meet me still unemployed. I presumed he thinks it is bad luck for him.
“Brother Kola, go for it, you have nothing to lose. You have all it takes, except that you are too short for the job”, Segun my brother would say when I told him how mom called our entire family members to discourage me from joining the force.
“Will you shot up? Are you taller than I am?” I blurted at him. I hated people calling me short. I am of average height.
“Kolawole, don’t join them o, those in the police can spoil somebody’s character.” Uncle Shogo twitter voice would ring through the phone like the aroma from freshly cooked, seaming Jollof rice. “I have this friend that joined the Force. Before you know it, he started drinking, smoking and womanizing. Now, he has sent he wife packing”
I have heard strange warnings and predictions about my decision to form an affinity with the police by being one of them. But, for the first time in a long while, I really wanted to have a ‘gun’ and I want to stick to it.
“You are very stubborn, do you want to kill me? Ehm” my weary mother said when I came back from the first three month’s training at the police college. She had fasted and prayed for so long. Obviously praying that the police would disqualify me and send me back home. I had tried to explain to her that joining the police was the only thing that seems right to me. But, there seemed to be a break in communication.
“That is what I want, mom. Moreover, I have no alternative I cannot stay at home doing nothing”
“Don’t tell me that. Your father has a big business, you can help him manage it, instead of signing up for that profession that gets people nowhere” Mother worried voice was deafening. I have learnt to keep quiet when she rails because arguing with her was no use; she was good at it. “You better talk to your son, he is treading the path of destruction.” She stood up abruptly and left my dad and me in the living room.
My dad kept a low profile in the matter as though he is was stranger who had no say in the matter. His lackadaisical attitude to the supposed stupidity of his son has heightened the tension between himself and his wife.
“Why are you doing this to your mother?” he said with his quiet disposition and his docile baritone voice.
“I am sorry, I didn’t mean to be stubborn. I just want to do this”
“I understand.” He paused and smiled briefly. “You remember the encounter we had with a policeman when you were seven”
“Yes, I do?” I smile at my earliest memory of my encounter with the police 16 years ago. “I can still recall his Police Officer’s face”
. “You will be a very good lawyer one day” I remember Daddy suggesting a career option for me that day after I boldness got him out of trouble.
I was barely in primary 4. I and dad were heading to our store in our rackety Pick-up truck when a policeman popped out of nowhere, his uniform was rumpled. Everything about him seemed officially shabby. He made a gesture to my dad to stop and park the vehicle at the side of the road. Dad stopped reluctantly as he mumbled his discontent.
The Police man, can’t remember is rank now – though not above the sergeant Cadre, walked towards the passenger side of the vehicle. “You, go to the back of the moto” he said to me. His breath was overwhelming with the smell of smoked weed. I stared at him as though my junior in school was asking me to clean his shoe.
“Kola go to the back” dad had said. he noticed my contempt and hesitation.
I climbed to the opened back of the truck. The policeman boarded the vehicle. I didn’t hear the conversation they were having. Though I tried to eavesdrop, however, I knew they were having a tense argument.
“Do you know that his guy actually accused me disobeying his order to stop the vehicle and that I almost hit him” Dad laughed as though the accusation was a hilarious punchline that was told years ago, but he just understood it now. “And he wanted me to give him money or else he would arrest me. The most annoying part was that he didn’t want the N200 I offered him”
The police officer decided to seize the battery of dad’s truck. Fortunately for him, the Police station was just two buildings away. I remember how dad was escorted into the inner room of the station, while I was asked to sit at the counter for hours. I remember how hunger twisted my intestine. The fear that dad would not be allowed to go home haunted me.
“How are you, what is your name” the DPO had asked when he called me into his office. His uniform was starched. His pistol, which was lying on his desk, caught my innocent attention, though I was scarce it, I wish I could touch it. My father and some police officers stood in the large office, including the arresting officer with his bloodshot eyes and an angry face.
“Good, Kola, I want to ask you some questions and I want you to answer me truthfully. Did this man beat your daddy?” The DPO asked, pointing to the arresting officer. His shirt seemed even more rumpled and squeezed than before, as though he was involved in a fight.
“No,” I said
“Did your daddy beat this man?”
“Oga, na lie this boy dey talk o, this man slap me, na him squeeze my uniform like this” The Police officer protested, accusing dad of battering him.
“You are a liar, my daddy didn’t beat you. You are lying” I shouted at the Police officer. I could still recall the stunned eyes of the policemen in the room.
“Will you shot up” the DPO ordered the officer, He apologized to my dad, and we were released immediately.
“From that day hence forth, I knew that there are still some police officers who are honest and understand their job.” Dad sad as he reflected on the event that happened 16 years ago. “He asked you if that officer beat me first, because, he wants to know if you will lie. But you told the truth, which vindicated us at the end of the day. Yes, there might the bad eggs in the Force, but there are also good police officers too. The Police Force needs people like you. You should live your dreams, my son. Leave your mother to me, I will handle her”.
“Thank you very much sir,” I said, feeling vindicated and encouraged.
This piece was first published on www.stationofthoughts.wordpress.com by the author.