Within a few days, my rapport with the police officers skyrocketed. I and the DPO had become best of friends. He kept saying I’ll make a good human rights activist. This was based on the way I constructed my written statement when I was arrested earlier. He would call me to help him proofread certain documents before he passed them on. Some evenings I just waited for him to close so we hang out at his favorite spot together. All the officers at the police station soon began to greet me with special attention. I knew they did because they realized I was quite close to their boss.
On one occasion, I was waiting for the DPO inside the reception. Constable Andrew walked past me severally. I knew his mind must be too busy thinking about me. He must be asking himself what his DPO is doing with a Yahoo Boy like me. I greeted every other officer that walked past me except Andrew. At some point, I giggled mockingly whenever he walked past me. He couldn’t hold it anymore. “Who you dey find?”, he, Andrew finally asked me. I looked at him and looked away right after. No response. He was going to resort to violence as usual. I could sense real anger in his voice when he said, “oya! Go wait for am downstairs”.
“Is it that you can’t speak good English for once? Well, your oga, the DPO has asked me to wait for him right here. If you have any problems with that, call him for verification. And, if I decided to join the Nigerian police today, I’ll be your superior by several ranks due to my academic qualifications. Don’t play God because the government gave you access to an AK47. You should have an idea how God works by now. He made you arrest me wrongly just so I can become your boss’s friend”. I felt great peace in my heart after rendering my short speech to constable Andrew. One officer was down the hallway. I caught him nodding in approval of what I just said.
Andrew’s anger quadrupled by the time I was done with him. He couldn’t do anything to me though. He just grumbled his way down the stairs. A Nigerian police station is not a fun place to be. I won’t be sitting there if I wasn’t invited by the DPO. The excitement in me knew no bounds as I walked downstairs and decided to oppress officer Andrew some more. An Hausa girl walked in with a large transparent bucket on her head. She was selling freshly made kunnu. It was so cold and fresh. I bought for every officer present as it was a hot afternoon. Constable Andrew walked out angrily before the kunnu could get to him. I began to chat with the other officers to pass time.
One thing led to another and before long, the officers began to talk about my arrest and other events. “Walahi! I no know say you be correct guy like dis. No wonder DPO come like you well well”, commented one of the officers. Then another one followed with an advise. “Be careful for those you call your neighbors. They will smile with you and stab you in the back before you know it”, he said. Yet another officer spoke. He was among the group that arrested me days back. He spilled the final beans that made me realize exactly what they’ve all been trying to say.
“Dem talk say you no dey work. You go just dey house and many fine girls go dey find you come. Na every time your generator dey dey on and you still dey drive fine car. Even the neighbors wey dey go work everyday no enjoy reach you. Na so so laptop and phone you dey press up and down”, the officer said. From his description of me, I knew the snitch was someone who’s quite close to me. I suspected Bella immediately. Otherwise, why did the arrest happen just after she left my apartment that day? Then she didn’t panic or come looking for me at the police station until I was released. I felt so bitter I had to ask myself, “what have I done to Bella to deserve such treatment?”.
The DPO’s car entered the premises and all the officers quickly adjusted. Perfect tranquility came into the station for the first time in minutes. The DPO is known for his no nonsense approach to work environment etiquette. He beckoned on me and we climbed the stairs up to his office. “Tunde, sorry I kept you waiting for a while”, the DPO apologized. Then he asked me to have a seat.
To be continued…