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Men in black

By Sam Umukoro
30 July 2022   |   2:41 am
Many people are very happy with the men in black. Their dedication to duty is admirable and quite commendable. I have been regaled by stories of their commitment to service by Duncan, the neighbourhood drunk.

Many people are very happy with the men in black. Their dedication to duty is admirable and quite commendable. I have been regaled by stories of their commitment to service by Duncan, the neighbourhood drunk.

Readers of this column know that I take Duncan’s story with a pinch of salt. However, they are too interesting not to share. I have taken the liberty to share two of these ‘beer parlour’ stories.


Joe lost his job seven months ago. Following the loss, he became an Uber driver to take care of his wife and 3 children. He accepted trips that took him to the nooks and crannies of Lagos. On one of such trips, he ran into the hardworking officers.

He greeted them warmly and as usual, they told him to pull over.
“Where are your vehicle particulars?”
Joe presented his vehicle documents to the officer. Who looked at the documents hurriedly.
“What do you have in your boot?’’
“Nothing officer”
“Are you sure?”
“It is against the law to lie to an officer of the law”
“Officer, I have nothing in my boot”
“Open the boot!”
Joe opened the boot for the officer to look inside.
“What is this inside the boot?”
“Wheel Spanner”
“And what other items do you have there?” the officer asked.
“Spare tire, fire extinguisher, jack and an empty can for petrol”

“You can see that you just lied. You told me you had nothing in the boot, so what are these items? Nothing! If I arrest you now, it will look like wickedness, then people will say we don’t know what we are doing. You just lied now”

Despite the ludicrous statement, Joe had to apologize profusely, any further delay will affect his earnings for the day.

“Officer, I am sorry, please forgive my ignorance”

“Ignorance is not an excuse under the law. Next time when you are asked if you have any items in the boot, your answer should be yes, because you have your spare tire, wheel spanner, and fire extinguisher there. You can go now”

“Thank you, officer, it will not happen again”

Joe was impressed that the officer did not demand a bribe. He would rather accept the admonition from the officer than demanding a bribe.

Joe went about his day and mother luck smiled on him with his last passenger. He got a passenger, who wanted him to go offline and chauffeur him for two hours. Joe made fifty thousand naira from the trip. He was excited and couldn’t wait to go home and share the good news with his wife. He stopped by at a supermarket famous for freshly baked bread. He bought two loaves and a crate of eggs. Although the items he bought were more expensive because of rising inflation, Joe was happy to pay for them. He wanted his family to benefit from the windfall.

He began his journey home in high spirits. Just a few meters to veering off the expressway onto the road leading to his neighbourhood, he ran into a roadblock mounted by the hardworking men in black. The Following conversation ensued:

“Put on your inner light please?”

“Officer, my light is on already”, Joe replied politely. He was impressed by the polite request of the officer.

“Do you have anything on you?”

Joe remembered the incident in the morning and the lessons learnt from it. So, he answered yes and went on to inform the officer that he had two loaves of bread, a crate of eggs, one spare tire, a wheel spanner and a jack in his boot.

“Please open the boot”

Joe alighted to comply with the request. The officer beamed his torchlight into the boot and asked Joe to close it, satisfied with the items.

“You can go”, he told Joe.

Joe was surprised. No demand for bribe. Again, he was impressed by the conduct. He opened the driver’s door, and as he was about to get in, a wad of naira notes fell from his pocket.

The officer picked it up and asked Joe why he didn’t declare the currency with him.

“Officer, I am sorry, I didn’t think it was necessary”

“You didn’t think it was necessary! it is people like you who get into public office and would not declare their full assets. If I had asked you to fill out an asset declaration form now, you would have omitted this money. An unpatriotic act!”

“Once again, I am sorry officer, it won’t happen again”

“Please don’t let this happen again, here is your money. We must all join hands to change the country. It starts from you and I”

“Thank you, officer, I will follow your advice”

As Joe was about to drive off, the officer tapped the window and his next question shocked Joe
“Anything for us?”

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