So I set out this afternoon to renew the papers for my car at the Vehicle Inspection Officer’s (VIO) office in Area 1, Abuja. I put a call through to a friend who works in that agency, but in another office location and she suggested which officer I should ask for when I get to the Area 1 office, someone I often meet for the same purpose though.

As I made to branch into the untarred part of the road to the VIO’s office, I noticed some of their personnel on the road, running checks on some vehicles to be sure they have their appropriate papers. And so this dude flagged me down, even as I had slowed down completely to negotiate the side road and avoid another car they had stopped. I told him, ‘gentleman I am actually on my way to renew my papers in your office’. He got into my car and asked to go along with me. He also pleaded that I help pick up another man standing by there who was going with him to their office. As we moved, he asked to see my current papers and I gave to him, oblivious of the criminal intent of this VIO official.

We got to his office premises and he quickly came down and asked me to park properly and come after him. My fury button began to rise but I kept calm, parked the car and demanded my papers from him. The VIO official, now let’s now call him the idiot (because he’d by then proved to be one) insisted I must go with him to see his ‘oga’, with whom he expected me to discuss and renew the papers. I told him sternly that I came on my own freewill and  knew where exactly I was heading and whom I was going to meet. The criminal-minded fellow would take none of that and said he wanted to be ‘lenient’ with me. What on earth was that supposed to mean, I asked him, by which time he had walked into the portacabin housing his ‘oga’, who without even hearing me out concluded (by her conduct) that her ‘dutiful’ staff had just apprehended an offender in the course of his duty for the day.

I allowed the criminal mind to state his case against me, which in his convoluted mind is that he stopped me and demanded to see my papers only for me to claim that I was actually heading to their office to renew my papers. I tried to correct him there that I was already turning into that side road with intention to go to their office when he approached me. And that was when his equally silly ‘oga’ cautioned me not to try to be ‘smart’.

What the cheek?! I blurted out and insisted I was there on a simple mission of renewing my papers and I did not understand the trash the two of them were talking about. While the man (see I have stopped calling him idiot because I am no longer angry about it) insisted he stopped me, I now told them the officer I was going to meet and the fact that I just spoke with another of their colleagues on phone before coming here.

Next, I asked the corrupt official that assuming his narrative is as he has stated, what is the offence he purports to have against me? You see, this ‘mumu’ of an officer, driven by one single interest: to extort money from a possible vulnerable motorist whose papers he thought were not updated, did not realise that my papers were yet to expire until next week. I then told him that the papers he was clutching on to as if his meals for the weekend depended on were still valid until next week.

At that moment, he opened the papers and realised that he had made a fool of himself. His equally complicit superior seeing the shame they had brought on themselves in the full court of visitors and other motorists they may have harassed and squeezed some money from suddenly turned quiet. As a face saver, the man asked for my driver’s licence which I promptly produced and he shamelessly handed over my papers and disappeared while I stormed out of the portacabin to transact the legitimate business I came for.

Chai! VIO, (pronounced around here as ‘fee-hai-oh’), una can cheat people o. All these lies you are telling, diaris God o!