Trinityblogg's Blog

{May 18, 2010}   I Don’t Bribe!

I thought I’d share a story of the first (and only time) I’ve given bribe *shamefaced*. This happened the first time I took my Aunt’s car for a drive.

I was rushing to the office to get my flash drive for my brother before going for my first Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) class. I stopped at the Market traffic light (I was probably the 6th car from the traffic lights), and when the lights turned green I went by and turned right to go down the bridge. Well, at least I started to turn right when 2 police men came out of nowhere and flagged me down, saying that I beat the light. They made me park and one of them entered the car. I tried to insist that the light hadn’t even turned orange when I passed it, but I realized that disagreeing with him would do no good. So I just said ‘sorry, I didn’t notice’.

So, there was a 10 minutes batter where he insisted I drive to their office, and I insisted that I couldn’t, on and on. Then, another policeman came by and said ‘just talk to him and settle it now?’ So I asked the policeman in the car ‘what can I do not to go to your office?’ The guy said I should drop 15,000 Naira since if I go to their office I would pay about 50,000 Naira. So, we battered. I asked for 6,000, but when I saw he had exchanged his smile for a stony and adamant face, I agreed to 9,000 Naira. At the end of it, I started wondering whether I really had beaten the light.

Anyway, he went his way and I went mine, my purse significantly lighter. I’m actually ashamed to have succumbed to the Nigerian thing and giving bribes to blood leaching, cold, parasitic policemen (well known for their extortion), but right then I was thinking of how not to get my aunts’ car impounded.

Funny enough, the 3rd time I took the car out, I stopped at the same traffic light and drove by when the light was green. I think I was the 4th car from the traffic light this time, and the 1st to turn right again. Three policemen started flagging me down again. Aha, I thought, so this is how they get their money on weekends at this junction – by lying that people are disobeying the traffic light. So, I promptly changed direction and went straight instead. In fact, I’m still surprised at my fast thinking haha. I’ve decided that if they flag me down at that junction again, I’ll give them the finger and refuse to stop.



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