A three-minute, 45-second footage secretly filmed by one of the passengers detailing the encounter of the trio, in the hands of the policeman, has become a sensation on YouTube and other social networking sites.
One of the three, who later spoke in Yoruba, was heard explaining to the policeman that one of them was actually celebrating his birthday and that they were hurrying to catch up with a friend. The incident, according to the description given on YouTube, was said to have happened in the Egbeda area of Lagos.
“Arrange dollars. Give us dollars,” the AK-47-wielding policeman, who was alone while the encounter lasted, declared to a well-built passenger who had been making efforts to pacify him.
The cop who was comfortably sitting at the back seat of the car from where he negotiated the dollar-bribe subsequently ordered the passenger back into the vehicle with a view to kick-starting the negotiation.
The Nigerian-American quickly cut in to explain that he wasn’t carrying any dollars on him and that he was only on vacation in the country.
“I don’t have dollars. If we had got dollars that would have been fine. If we had dollars it would be cool. We only have naira,” the passenger who spoke with what can be described as an American accent, said.
The third passenger also tried in vain to dissuade the policeman from insisting on taking the bribe in dollars. One of the passengers, on noticing his resolve to take bribe, offered him a bribe of N700 which the policeman promptly rejected.
“This is N700. What is the value of N700? I need dollars. Let us go and change it (naira to dollars). Bring better thing. That one is no money. That one is not money, I don tell you finish oo,” he said with a scornful look.
After ruminating on the development for a few seconds, the policeman who appeared determined to take the bribe in dollars thereafter offered to give the passengers a description of where the offices of bureau de change operators are situated in the area.
“They are changing it (money) here. There is a bureau de change (operator) here,” he explained while pointing towards the right hand side of the location where they were stationed.
When one of them brought up the idea of putting a call through to an influential person who they named as “Uncle” to bail them out of their predicament, the policeman became furious, saying, “Call! Who you go call? I am not doing illegal duty.”
At a point when it appeared that they were not forthcoming on giving him the bribe, the policeman threatened to take them to the police station where they might face bigger sanctions for the alleged contravention of the traffic law.
“Start your motor make we go office. Let’s go to station,” he yelled at the guys.
After the car driver pleaded with him not to carry out his threat, he calmed down and started renegotiating again.
The cop, who was seen sweating profusely, fanned himself intermittently with the vehicle particulars he had collected from the driver. At a point, he was seen dusting his cap, just as he lamented, “Na wa ooo.”
When the policeman sighted a cigarette with the Nigerian-American, he yelled, “Are you smoking?” This was in an apparent bid to strike a better bargain under the guise of a new bill for a law banning smoking in public places in Lagos.
The Nigerian American quickly replied, “Its e-cigarette.” The policeman who might have been bemused by what he was referring to immediately looked away and returned to the initial negotiation table.
But this time, he demanded to ascertain the actual identity of the man who had been speaking with him in a foreign accent. “Are you a Nigerian?” the policeman asked just as the Nigerian-American responded that he is a Nigerian.
“But you speak like oyinbo. How old are you in America (sic)?” the policeman further asked.
The Nigerian-American, who said he was 44-year-old, later explained that he had been living overseas for the past 15 years.
After making his inquiry, the policeman reiterated his demand. “Give us better thing abeg. Don’t waste my time. Let the money be complete. I don’t like this thing ooo. I say complete am.” The video later went dead.
It brings to five the number of policemen and women who have been caught on video demanding bribes from motorists.
A police sergeant, Chris Omeleze, was in fact dismissed from the Force in August 2013, after he was caught on video demanding a bribe of N25, 000 from a motorist.
Barely two weeks after Omeleze was dismissed the video of two policewomen negotiating a bribe of N100 in Oshodi area of Lagos, surfaced on YouTube.
In September, another policeman attached to the Onitsha Area Command, Anambra State, was seen in a footage demanding a bribe of N10, 000 from a motorist.
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