Friday, November 01, 2013

Beware of uniformed hustlers at Berger

If you drive through Ojodu Berger Bus Stop on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, take special precaution not to pick up or drop people on either side of the bus stop.

If you must, go further away from the bus stop and ‘shine your eyes’ very well.

LASTMA officials and policemen have of late turned the bus stop to ‘work-chop’. Remember the year is drawing to a close. People are getting desperate for money for the Yuletide. 

Actually, there are ‘No Parking’ signs on either side of the road, but if you reason that they are only meant for commercial drivers who park indiscriminately and not private car owners who drop off people in seconds and zoom off, you will be making a mistake.

They will pounce on you and quote Lagos State Traffic law that specifies a fine of N35, 000 for such an offence.  It will then be up to you to offer something impressive enough as a bribe for them to let you run along to meet your appointments.  

A police van blocked me yesterday as I tried to pick my wife. The waiting could not have been up to a second, because she had not even opened the door when they came from their hiding.

One of the boys rudely told me I had committed a traffic obstruction offence by picking someone at Berger. I was to follow them to their office somewhere to pay my fine. At his command, one of them got into my car and was piloting me to the location.

I got off by demanding to see their most senior officer, to whom I introduced myself and explained that I did not park, but was to pick my wife for less than a minute.

He sent me off with a warning in espirit de corp. (I spent some of my early years in journalism on the police/judicial beat.)


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