Are Nigerian Police and FSARS Jealous of Successful Youths?
Any regular road user would not argue the fact that most Nigerian policemen on the road extort money from road users on daily basis, either by intimidation or by pleading. The latter is usually applied when they cannot find fault or manufacture faults with your vehicle or its papers. But the level of intimidation they put up when they sight young men in flashy vehicles is just out of this world.
In Nigeria, any young man with a smart phone and/or computer all packed in a flashy vehicle should exercise caution when approaching a Police or FSARS checkpoint because this young man is already branded a criminal until proven innocent. Despite the fact that it is illegal to just start going through people's phones and laptops without a search warrant, the policemen and FSARS operatives in Nigeria do that at will, and the victim dare not mention of "Rights in Constitution" for fear of being murdered in the backyard and branded a criminal shot at gunpoint.
I have personally been harassed, despite the fact that I do not even drive a flashy car, and I'm not too young (maybe absence of facial hairs or beards make me look younger than my real age). The moment I was asked to come down and submit my phones and laptops in Shangisha Magodo, around Ikeja area of Lagos, I did that knowing that my life was important to be able to tell this story than fighting for my rights. They went through the phones and could not find anything. They opened Facebook, went through the chats, did same with Whatsapp, searched for some few words with nothing incriminating coming up. They went through my computer and saw an email template I typed in a word document which was directed to clients asking them to pay for some services.
"You are a guy man!" the computer checker said, inviting me over for negotiations. "We have an evidence here!"
I pointed out to him that I am a web-designer, and that this was what I send to my clients when their websites are about to expire. They argued and later asked to be compensated with any amount. My mind was already made up not to give anything after my time which they have already wasted. I seemed not to be bothered about time, and my friends were relaxed too.
"These ones na bad market," I could hear one of them saying.
This is just the least of the illegal things FSARS and police operatives do to young men whom they perceive as rich or successful. It would lead one to question if the Nigerian Police or FSARS are afraid or Jealous of Nigerian Youths becoming successful?
Reformation and sensitization of the Nigerian Police at all levels is important at this stage. They need to be made to understand that there is a global trend where the young are becoming richer through entrepreneurship, and success no longer bound to people of certain ages or those in politics or multi-billion businesses. With the knowledge of this global trend, they might - if they are willing to learn - find a better approach at tracking fraudsters, instead of intimidating and harassing every young man with a car on the road.
The era when youths with computers are thought to be internet fraudsters in Nigeria is long gone, and even those who defrauded foreigners in those days should have grown to look older now, and would no longer look like young men between the ages of 19 and 35. This sensitization is importatnt to reveal the dangers of profiling one as a criminal because of the person's age, which is the norm in the present day Nigeria.