Nigerian police checkpoints are in top three on the list of the worst things Nigerians have to deal with — just below Desmond Elliot and whatever Chief Daddy 2 was

The whole idea of checkpoints is to ensure public safety. But Nigerian police checkpoints have become synonymous with billing centres. They’re unofficial toll gates for police officers to make a quick buck and pretend to be your friend. 

And when you refuse to pretend to be their friend by greasing their palms with your last ₦2k, things can get ugly. The best-case scenario is that you end up at a police station for not dropping something for boys. 

Nigerian police checkpoints are notorious

In the worst-case scenario, you can be killed over an amount as measly as ₦50.

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The stubborn presence of Nigerian police checkpoints

It’s understandable that Nigerians are not in love with stop-and-search checkpoints. They’re a waste of time — when they’re not special operations — and they’re cash cows for police officers. A report that studied police checkpoints in Anambra State between August 2015 and August 2016 discovered that the average checkpoint made ₦40,000 a day.

Nigerian police checkpoints are notorious for bribery

The checkpoint situation has become so embarrassing for the Force that it’s become a rite of passage for the Inspector-General of Police to announce bans. Nigerian IGP that didn’t announce a ban on checkpoints, is that one real IGP? Of course, this doesn’t mean the bans are ever implemented, but bless their souls for wasting the paper the orders were printed on. 

Nigerian police checkpoints are notorious for bribery

Bans are temporary, but checkpoint bribes are eternal.

What’s old?

In 2019, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) took to Twitter to give Nigerians tips on how to navigate checkpoints with their lives intact. The Twitter thread included “helpful” tips like, “Be friendly and cheerful. Commend the officers especially when you see them working under very unfriendly weather conditions.”

Nigerian police checkpoints are notorious for bribery

We advise that you don’t start with, “Why so serious?”

The thread also contained stuff like this: 

That was three years ago, but checkpoints are still causing troubles in 2022

What’s new? 

The new spokesperson of the NPF, Muyiwa Adejobi, hopped on Twitter on Sunday, March 20th 2020 with more tips on what should happen at checkpoints.

According to him, police officers can only ask you for three things at checkpoints:

1. Vehicle licence

2. Driver’s licence

3. Certificate of insurance (especially for private car owners)

Adejobi further said that any officer that asks for more, like customs paper, is a “deviant” that should be punished.

How you can help checkpoint officers stay onside

Officers of the NPF are not well-known for obeying orders that block their bags, so it’s up to regular citizens to force compliance. When police officers do more than they’re lawfully allowed at checkpoints, it’s your responsibility to make official complaints of misconduct.

Your complaint can be directed to any of the numbers below:

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