For like two days in April, investigative journalist ‘Fisayo Soyombo drove the equivalent of a stolen vehicle from Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, to Lagos, the country’s commercial hub.
Not only did he arrive Lagos safely with the car, he returned to Abuja scot-free with it — and this is despite passing through a whopping 86 checkpoints in a journey of over 1,600km that lasted a cumulative 28hours 17minutes. He recounts his experience in this article for TheCable.
Just by the exit of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway into the descent leading to Ife Road, a policeman named Gambo aggressively flagged him down during the second part of the undercover investigation.
After much haggling, they both agreed on a N20,000 fee to be paid to Gambo as bribe for the undercover journalist whose vehicle had no papers to be free. The police officer also told his some other dubious ways to avoid police officers checkpoints and lies to be told if he comes across such encounters. It was unknown to Gambo that their discussion was being filmed by the journalist.
Read how some scenes of the drama ensued below:
“What is the content of these bags?” he asks after making me open the car booth.
“Can we check?”
When he requests for my papers and I tell him I don’t have, he climbs into the car with me, signals his colleague that he is leaving the scene with me, and asks me to drive off. He doesn’t exactly tell me the destination, but rather than go right towards Ife Road, he asks me to exit the roundabout to the left, towards Idi-Ape in Ibadan.
When I politely ask to be allowed to park nearby “so we can discuss”, Gambo, as the officer would later introduce himself as, drags the car steering with me, Soyombo narrated in his lengthy report.
“I’m not a easy person like that o,” he says emphatically. “You want to argue with me? Even if we are going to discuss, don’t cause holdup. Don’t argue with me; you cannot argue with me, oga. I’m not a easy person like that o. I say go!”
I comply, telling him: “You said you want to discuss; I’m ready.”
“No, I don’t want to discuss!” Officer Gambo interjects. “But if you want to discuss, I’m hearing you. If you want to discuss, I will listen to you.”
“Tell me what you want,” I reply. “If you tell me what you want, I will do it.”
Encouraged, he asks in quick succession: “Can you? Can you?”
“I’ll try my best.”
Watch the video below: