Devonomics

Devonomics

It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.

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Men In Black: Bribery and Nigerian Police

Tobi Jaiyesimi

Tobi Jaiyesimi

Tobi is a political economist and Founder of The Book Banque. An advocate for good governance and a culture enthusiast, Tobi constantly works towards increasing youth engagement, rewriting narratives and challenging the normative in Nigeria.

Driving in Nigeria can be manic or character building, depending on how you choose to see it. Close to nearly every traffic light, roads are adorned with law enforcement agents securing citizenry, or, their next meal ticket. Supposedly banned, police still litter the streets with checkpoints notorious for worsening traffic. Suffixed with ‘sah’ if your car is deemed worthy, or robed with aggression if you are a commercial vehicle driver, Nigerian police officers are known for demanding unmerited compensation.

Pedestrians, unfortunately, are not exempt from these operations. Instead, they are seen as a way to leverage returns on officers’ investment in certain postings; arrested for things as trivial as wandering – which is no longer considered an offence by law – or, for refusing to pay bribes. More absurdly, some point fingers at Nigerian police for the rise in food prices. They reportedly demand levies for food produce transported by road, and in turn, local ‘bukas' pass on the cost of these bribes to customers. Such extortive practices, especially in a time of general economic hardship, affect people other than the immediate victims. 

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