An Abuja-based businessman (names withheld), on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, saw hell in the hands of men purporting to be traffic law enforcement officers in the popular Ojodu-Berger area of Lagos.
The man had just left the Omole area, around midday, and was travelling to the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Camp on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
According to the distraught businessman, he had made a left turn just as the traffic light at the small roundabout at the beginning of the Isheri Olowora-Magodo road, turned amber. Then, out of the blues, a police inspector jumped in front of his Toyota Avensis car, accusing him of running the light. Moments later, a plump-looking, dark-skinned man joined the armed cop.
Before he knew what was happening, the two men had hopped into his car; the cop with his gun at the back seat and the dark-skinned man at the front seat. And another chapter in the drama of the absurd began.
The menacing duo told the weary businessman that the penalty for the alleged offence was N120,000 but he should bring N60,000 and go and sin no more.
“I was dazed,” said the businessman. “It was like a bad dream because the traffic light had just switched from green to amber when I made the left turn to join the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The time was about 12.20 p.m. I made a left turn on amber.
“Then, from nowhere, this police inspector came in front of my car and stopped me. He said I wasn’t supposed to make a left on amber and demanded for N120,000. Two of them entered my car; the inspector at the back and a plump, dark-complexioned guy, who later introduced himself as Michael, sat at the front passenger’s seat. They demanded that I give them N60,000 so that I can be released. Because there was gun involved (the inspector had a gun), I had to agree but I don’t carry such cash around. The inspector later came down from the car and ordered the man that told me his name is Michael to follow me, collect the money and bring it to the spot where they got into my car.
“Michael asked me to turn around, I did. He told me to turn around again, I obeyed. Then, he asked me to park by the roadside and he pointed to a POS across the road to go get the money and bring it to him. I dashed across the road to meet the POS lady. That was when I had the opportunity to record the sad event as it continued to unfold.
“After collecting the N60,000 at the POS for which the POS lady charged N900 commission, I took it to Michael in the car. He counted the money and held it but still warned me that that was not the end of the story as they might still ask him to bring my car to their office.
“After collecting the money, he directed me on the way back to their spot and advised that I should be careful of bad boys on the road as I continue on my journey. Then, he came out of the car. I observed there were other people at the spot the men arrested me, including LASTMA officers.
“I have travelled round the world and I have never seen where anybody got arrest for running on amber. But this is my country, Nigeria. Anything can happen.”