Nigeria’s police have issued helpful tips for drivers approaching checkpoints, suggesting courtesy instead of shouting “shoot me if you can!”
The country’s police force has earned a fearsome reputation for corruption and rights abuse, and many people are scared of being stopped by officers who often demand bribes at checkpoints.
“Endeavour to be polite even when answering questions put to you by the officers,” the guidelines said.
“Don’t dare or challenge an armed security man to a duel.”
The tips were written by Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba earlier this week, and posted on the force’s social media account.
The suggestions include slowing down, keeping your hands visible so police can see you do not have a gun, and turning on the interior light of your car as you approach a checkpoint.
“Often times, you hear people say things like ‘shoot me, if you can!’ Note that this is a recipe for disaster!” the police advised. “It is very provocative and an unnecessary call for war.”
Last month, police in the capital Abuja were accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women they had arrested on charges of prostitution, sparking outrage and condemnation from rights groups.
“Ordinarily, encounters between the citizens and the Police or other law enforcement agents should be reassuring and delightful. In fact, the mere sight of the Police ought to generate in the citizen an instant feeling of relief, safety and security,” the police said.
“This unfortunately, is not the reality in Nigeria today. In fact, some encounters in the past had led to embarrassment, injuries, permanent disability and, in extreme cases, death.”
But the police media department said that being friendly helps.
“We know it’s their job, but a little kind word from you will do a lot of good,” the message read. “Remember when you smile at the mirror, the mirror smiles back at you.”