16 February 2006

The Good Samaritan

Just returned from a trip to LASU, my experience there deserves a whole post on its own. Na, the air conditioning in the new Peugeot 406 na die! My jaw is aching from having to clench it so hard; else my teeth would have been chattering that coupled with the bad state of the road would have severed my tongue for sure! Initially I dey try form ‘binto’, when e be like say no be only my tongue I go lose, my chest sef go congeal na im I hala. Na im dem inform me say na de lowest setting de tin dey!!! Deflecting the flow of freezing air to the windows and all made it a little better sha.

The driver had the radio tuned to a Yoruba station; what’s it with drivers and car decks? The car can be running on bald tyres stuffed with rags, the engine may be smoking as if someone is burning refuse assisted by kerosene, the window are either up or down, and God help you if its sunny or rainy, but the deck would always be working! I was in Benin for a colleagues’ traditional wedding (my first trip driving so far by the way) and I saw the most peculiar sight; this bus was practically tied together with string, it was smoking like my chemistry teacher in secondary school, and it had so many sharp rusty edges, it would be advisable to get a tetanus shot before coming anywhere near it! Check out the speakers in the back, correct Kenwood, and a correct ‘face off’ pioneer deck in the cab!!! Instead of the owner to sell the deck in order to cure the bus! Anyways the show that was on was ‘Ninu iwe Iroyin’ (inside the dailies), and they were narrating the unfortunate incident that happened to one okada driver. Apparently, in the course of going about his secondary business, (every okada’s primary business is to make life difficult for other road users. I learned that away, they are classed alongside cyclists and pedestrians as ‘weak traffic participants’, the reverse however is the case in Nigeria. Okada’s are the only traffic participants, the rest of us are playing ‘Russian Roulette’!) He happened upon a car with its driver apparently dead as a dodo sprawled on the road. Obviously neither the guy nor his passenger watch ‘CSI’ because between the two of them they proceeded to search the car and found an address which belonged to his (the deceased) relative/s. It was then decided that the okada driver would go inform the deceased’s family of his demise. I am not sure if he dropped his passenger off before continuing on this pressing assignment. Enroute to the relatives, he stopped by the nearest police station to report what he had happened upon, I believe he gave the police a good description of where the car was and all that. He now proceeded to the address of the relatives where he broke the bad news. As a Good Samaritan, he left his address and GSM phone number in case they would need him later. Apparently the details he left where valid, because the police where able to pick him up easily when the relatives of the deceased accused him of relieving their dear departed brother of $4,000!!! The guy was picked up on Christmas Eve and has been in detention since then. No doubt he has been putting the time to good use, putting together his book titled ‘How not to be a Good Samaritan in Nigeria’! With all the obvious points of failure, the relatives fingered him as a thief, not the killer o! If he wasn’t the killer, why do they think their brother was killed, because he mad an illegal left turn on the street? I know the police need to close the case and all but please, show a little sense. Why would I steal and give you my valid contact details? If I am sharp enough to rob a dead man, would I bother informing the police or his relatives? Na to fade o! And what about the okada passenger? He could also have robbed the dead guy, how come he isn’t cooling his heels in the cell? The police themselves nko, what’s the guarantee that they didn’t make with the money themselves? And the most obvious question, where is the proof that there really was $4,000? The story didn’t say whether or not the money actually existed, but knowing I want to believe that the police had ascertained the money actually was in the car with the guy when he was killed.

I asked myself, what would I have done differently here. For sure I would have thought to inform the police at the very least I grew up singing the following song – ‘Enikeni ti wo ba ni pa lati se iranlowo fun o, ohun na leni keji re, toju re’. I have a hotline number for the police I got from the Inspector General himself! Actually VMobile donated lines to the police and circulated them to help you and I contact the police in case of an emergency such as this. I would have blocked my number and called in the report. Or better still I would have gone to a call centre, blocked the number and called them. This is just in case they decide to go and get call history from VMobile. I don’t know if they (VMobile) can trace calls from blocked numbers on their network but I will not take any chances (I would rather write my book looking at a beach and sipping red wine thank you). As for informing the relatives, bad idea. As long as their brother is not alive to corroborate any story I tell them, I wouldn’t do that. It’s a sad society we are in sha, see all the lengths one has to go to just to offer genuine help, and not land in trouble. No wonder people are learning to turn a blind eye.

By the way, here is the GSM number I have for the police 08023127350.


Epictetus said...

See, the "okada man" was way, way out of line! What was he thinking of? Re-write the rules of engagement? Re-describe the parameters of social intercourse?

I'm not persuaded I'd have intervened myself. I'd have driven past. I may have rued my inability to feel diminished by every man's death. I would certainly not have inquired for whom this pariticular bell tolled.

Still, I would have found solace in my freedom - unlike the ill-starred protagonist of this fable!

Pilgrimage to Self said...

Love your posts, but translations please for those of us non-Yoruba's. I think I am missing something when you write in Yoruba and don't translate it. Ta :-)