Where are your Custom papers?

Gbemiga Ogunleye

By Gbemiga Ogunleye

I have just been stopped by Hammeed Ali’s men at the Ibadan end of the Lagos -Ibadan Expressway, asking for my Custom papers.

“I don’t carry them about,” I told the officer who stopped me. He then asked for my vehicle particulars which I have him.

“What do we do now?,” the officer asked.
“I wouldn’t know,” I replied. “You will follow me to our Oga,” he announced proudly.

I put a call to my friend, Yusuf Alli of The Nation, to confirm if I had missed the news. The Nation’s Managing Editor burst into laughter when I told him my ordeal. He assured me that there was no directive asking Customs men to be asking for Customs papers.

I then walked confidently to meet the boss who wore dark glasses, slouched in a Customs vehicle. He repeated the same question his subordinate had asked earlier. I gave him the same response.

“What do we do now?” he asked me with a smirk on his face.
“Let’s go to your Command,” I told him gently.

You could feel the fury on his face. He then ordered one of the many Customs officers on the road to take me to their office. While I was waiting for my escort, he made a call and faithfully relayed our encounter to the other officer on the line.

After what seemed like eternity, he beckoned to me, gave me my papers and pronounced magisterially : ” The OC says you can go.” I collected my papers and drove off.

Gbemiga Ogunleye is the Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos

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