A SHORT STORY by Oladeji Popoola
The dusk was about to give its way to the colour of the policemens' uniform that stood gallantly at the checkpoint. On the clock, it was just 7.05pm. Our driver forcefully stopped by a beacon he understood. A voice came from a nearby "I say stop" Our driver halted at the left side of the road. "You stop that Micra and make sure you follow its driver to the station, he ran away the other time." A policeman who in his hand held a baton replied yes sir in agreement to the order of a policeman who stood beside us. "Wetin be your number" He questioned our driver, a keke maruwa driver. "That Oga" he pointed to a policeman that stand with a composed pistol gun, held in his hand on the other side of the road "He gave me number 182" he replied. After some minutes to validate the number, he beacon him freedom. "This Nigerian police, Ogun will kill them.” A voice from the back seat actuated the conversation. "Ogun can't kill them, they are Ogun themselves, let God judge them." A Yoruba woman whose face wore tiredness of the day stress interjected. “Finally the driver broke his silence with an imperfect pidgin English. “You people think say the government no see dem, or their Oga at the top no dey share the money with the government. God know say I no go pay another fifty naira if dey no see the number where dey write am." The Yoruba woman interjected again “I won’t agree to that your statement, government of this day is against corruption. Our security men who see corruption as a culture must have sucked indiscipline from their mother breast. She concluded.
“I am also a Taxi driver, what we experience on this road is unjust, should we talk about the agbero and their foolish deed. We drivers are the one that can narrate the tale of this country road. I refuted when a close friend of mine who also survive with this same business told me those extortionists have developed a new method, they hire street boys to collect money for them at bus stops to silence the rumbling antagonists. I was thoughtless when a mediocre came to me and requested for Owo olopa “Money for police” I was thoughtless but to gain my liberty from a son of the street
I paid the money” The man who sat beside me said.
I am happy to have someone who also experienced such their corrupt act” said the driver. He concluded by sounding his hooter to warned a bike man who attempt to overtake him. "This is a serious problem we will continue to nurture in this country so called Nigeria. A policeman who lacks discipline, who will caution such a fool and the government that is pretending to be myopic, they are the drug to their ailment and in short, in this 58th year of independence of our fatherland, Nigerian police still live by extorting. Well, only by voicing out will put a timely end to this disgusting and ridiculous act of those who are to cob corruption but rather crop it." A man who claimed the first class seat by sitting beside the driver said. 'Why can't you question the policeman what the number is meant for since you know it is extortion' I asked the first class man.
"Question the well known demon, anyway, I hate exchanging words with policeman" said in reply. For jiffies the tricycle was arrested by silence. Everyone understood his logical excuse. “Why can't you also talk?" The first classman broke the silence. 'Next time I experience such bribery, I will challenge them' I replied. “You better don’t try the sting of a hornet, they are better to be renamed as Nigeria corrupt force (NCF).” The man that sat beside me concluded the appalling discourse.
Ogun: Yoruba name for god of Iron
Micra: An automobile use as taxi in Ibadan
Keke maruwa: a moniker of a common tricycle in Nigeria
*Note that this work is not edited. Any form of adjustment or opinion will be well received.
About the story
Hornet on a country road is a short story and a non-fiction which portrays the corrupt act of Nigerian police on Nigeria road. The word “hornet” has been used specifically to qualify Nigerian police. Hornet is known to sting, that is, to cause distress. They extort those who use motors for business (taxi driver, bike rider, bus driver and tricycle driver) on Nigeria road, which can be best described as bribery.
My name is Popoola Oladeji Abdullahi, I am presently a 200 level student of the department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Ibadan. I am a lover of poetry and prose.