March 24, 2011

Nasty Police Attack

Not our lads, this time it was the Nigerian cops.

It was unpleasant to witness this sort of brutality.

After finishing up at the office last night, my driver was taking me back to my hotel, around 9:30pm.

We pulled up at a junction. About six cops were flagging someone down with torches. Whoever it was, did not want to stop, so one of the cops hit him across the face with what looked like a 3 foot section of 2" scaffolding pole. He took a mighty swing, and for as long as I live, I will never figure out how the okada guy (motorbike taxi, like the one pictured), stayed on the bike. His face was a mess. The (second) pillion rider ran off. The girl in the middle fell off the bike, screaming. I couldn't see any injuries to her.

Four of the cops gathered around the dazed okada lad, and proceeded to punch him: in the face, the kidneys and the stomach. We couldn't go anywhere at this point and all we could do was watch. Actually, my driver stuck his head out of the window and asked "What are you doing to this man?". The nearest, and youngest cop smiled and said, "It is a routine stop sir". My driver asked, "What is his offence?", The cop replied, "No helmet".

They fined him 200 Naira. NGN 200 = £0.79p.

They did not offer to repair his broken face.



JuliaM said...

Well, 'elf & safety, innit?

Anonymous said...

They'll be doing it here soon enough for the crime of smoking in public, watch.

Captain Ranty said...


Those that do have helmets aren't exactly protected either. They wear them back to front in an effort to look cool, and almost none of them do up the straps.


Captain Ranty said...


You are probably right.

There is no phrase called "Going too far" in the anti-smoker playbook.


Captain Ranty said...


I have seen these brutal attacks before but I have never seen a cop attack a white here.

Although one of them did stick an AK-47 barrel up my nose once, but that is a story for another day.


Michael Fowke said...

I'm just glad I never leave the house, let alone visit foreign countries.

Sue said...

My other half and I went to Morocco the year before last for Christmas. We went via Ceuta, which is a Spanish enclave situated where the port is on the African side.

We returned the same way, catching the ferry back over to Spain. As we were queuing and being searched by Spanish police and police dogs (obviously looking for drugs) I spotted a cage like passageway that the natives used for their day trips to "Lidls and Aldi's" on the Spanish side.

I witnessed local men being beaten with truncheons as they pushed, jostled or argued with the guards.

I can quite honestly say I was really shocked and quite frightened. My other half is ex army and he was pretty uncomfortable with it too.

Last year, we did the same thing but went via Tangier. We assumed the more popular tourist route would be less daunting and it was, thank goodness.

It's very strange to see people treating each other so badly. I don't think I'd ever get used to it.

Sue said...

**These were Moroccan guards, not Spanish.. (just to clarify)..

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

It's going to be "interesting" to see how the inhabitants of Lagos react to the new toll booths coming into service on the eastern side of town....

Anonymous said...

We always turn a blind-eye when doing "business" with corrupt and brutal regimes.

The "powers that be" in the UK always say "If we didn't do business with these corrupt countries then someone else would".

Maybe it's about time the average "business man" refused to work in these countries.

Captain Ranty said...


Somedays I wish I had never travelled at all.

On the whole though, it has been a great experience.


Captain Ranty said...


It is nasty when you witness these things. The trick is to never get used to it.


Captain Ranty said...


I go through that toll several times a day.

It has been "open for business" for a year now and they still haven't charged anyone a toll.

It is 50 Naira for a car, which isn't a lot, but no-one wants to pay it.


Captain Ranty said...


We have police brutality as well.

We have over 1100 deaths in custody in the last 9 years. Not one single copper has been charged with wrongful death.

I have put up many examples of police beating people for no good reason.

Should we refuse to work in the UK too?

In my own defence, what I do abroad provides and secures jobs in the UK. We also create jobs for people in Africa's shit-holes.

There IS a bigger picture.


Anonymous said...

Dear Captain

Police brutality in Africa. Police brutality in the UK.
One doesn't cancel the other out.

I come from a long-line of hypocrites and I can always justify my actions. I have worked for an international company and have been all over the World.

I want to subvert the corrupt system but on a quiet personal bases.

You on the other hand want to "stand-up" for what is right. (I presume I'm correct on this one).

So it's a question of principals. Mine are fairly fluid and based on selfishness.

Yours come across as "line in the sand" type.

Now you seem to be saying they are "pick n mix".

Your "blind-eye" is always alert and ready to be turned on at a moments notice.

Or am I just being argumentative to-day?

Captain Ranty said...


I hear you.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but my point is simply this: we have police brutality and even state sponsored murder in the UK (which has been forgiven 1100 times in the last 9 years), and yet we both work here. My job takes me abroad to Africa for 6 months of the year, and yes, I see brutality here as well.

What would you have me do? Quit my job (and put others at risk) because I don't like the (foreign) brutality? It means I cannot work in the UK either because of our home-grown brutality.

I am explaining myself badly, but I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say.


Anonymous said...

OK, yah.

Do they have oil?

Will a No Fly Zone help?

Know what I'm saying?

Captain Ranty said...

No, I don't.

There is no civil war here. There probably will be a spate of killings during the elections in a week or two, but neither side needs international intervention.

And yes, they are the third largest oil producer in Africa.


Anonymous said...

I like you Captain.

You do not rise to my bait.

We all try to do "our bit" in whatever way we can. We ALL make compromises when living in the "real" World.

Nobody can be an out-and-out rebel unless they have a death wish.

It is enough to know that there are many people who feel the "system" is their enemy.

Many will then feel confident to make a stand in maybe a small way but never-the-less a way that the numbers make a difference.

Captain Ranty said...


I like you too.

You challenge, where many do not.

I never claimed to be consistent. Not once. (Or even twice, which might have proved some consistency).

I am feeling my way along, like most humans. A "death wish" is a little harsh, but I know exactly what you mean. Here I am, claiming to be a rebel, and I have to compromise my beliefs, every single day, just to get on, to survive. I'd like to think that most of us do the same thing, in a small way. It is hard work, taking on the establishment, but I really do my best, whenever, and wherever, I can.

Am I a full-time warrior? No. I only wish I was.

I can talk the talk, but walking the walk is a lonely, dangerous road sometimes.

I will get better. Just today, at Lagos airport, I said "NO!" to a full body scan. Saying no in Nigeria is harder than you think. I made a rod for my own back, but (mixing metaphors), I stuck to my guns.

They did not body-scan me.

A small thing, but I am pleased that I stood up and said, NO.