10 Ways to avoid Naija Police from holding you up at a Checkpoint

If you’ve ever driven about Lagos (Nigeria) a lot, chances are you’ve come across our ‘ambitious’ law enforcement officers in black who mount road blocks in different places on our highways and spend time doing what they call ‘stop and search’ routine – even when it was banned some time ago by their ‘Oga’.

There’s actually nothing wrong in stopping and searching motorists. But it would make more sense if this routine was because of some security threat or so.

Well, most times there are no security reasons for mounting a road block. As a matter of fact most police checkpoints are no different from illegally located kiosks hustling to make some cash.

And when you happen to be a motorist with all your documents complete, they look for a way to still peg an offence on you. The whole aim is to get you to bribe your way out of the unnecessary predicament. And even if they don’t succeed in pegging you down, they sure know how to waste your precious time over senseless issues.

So how can you stop police from stopping you at any checkpoint? Here are some tried tips that may work!

1. When approaching a checkpoint and you happen to have your girlfriend or spouse next to you, the two of you should deliberately start an argument and make sure its heated such that you’re yelling at each other. When the cops see you, they don’t bother stopping you. They don’t like being in the middle of domestic issues.

2. If you can afford to carry a kid or kids along on your trip, do so. They work like magic. Each time I carry little Timi and A.Y along, they dare not stop me. Children seem to charm them or maybe make them feel too guilty to stop a Parent and harass a bribe out of him or her.

3. This one works for you if you’re a Christian. Pop in a powerful message tape or CD by a powerful Pastor and get spiritual. If you get waved to stop, smile at the officer and say something like; ‘Good day my brother. How is work? You are blessed in Jesus name!’ and then offer him a tract of flier. You ask why? It’s because they see ‘men of God’ as ‘bad market’ because they will never give bribe since it is forbidden by God.

4. This one is similar to No. 2. When you’re with a heavily pregnant woman, they don’t waste time with you. Did I mention something earlier about staying away from personal domestic issues? This one sort of amplifies it, especially when you’re checking on the pregnant lady now and again to be sure that she’s okay. You might cut the picture that you’re hurrying someone in labour to the hospital.

5. If you have car that’s black or dark blue in color, stick a small flag on your dashboard or antenna or any other conspicuous place and wear a stern face when you drive. They’re usually apprehensive about stopping cars that might turn out to be a top ranking Police or military officer or a highly placed government official.

6. If you have a driver, always make sure you sit at the ‘owner’s corner’. This either creates the same effect as No. 5 or just creates the assumption that anyone who has a driver would probably make sure vehicle papers are updated because the driver would have complained about it.

7. If you have access to new model vehicle, drive it more often. Police love to target ‘tokuboh cars’ (imported used cars) since most of them are usually smuggled and would lack one paper or the other. Oh...and did you know that the Police have a way of knowing when you've just bought a 'tokunboh'? Yes...the secret lies in the numbers on your number plate.A brand new vehicle is just ‘bad market’ as it would come with everything needed to be documented. And then if you’re driving a new model that’s actually a ‘tokunboh’ then you're one lucky son of a gun!

8. Have some nicely grilled suya or something edible in the car and the moment the Police stops you, start eating it, greet him politely and offer him some. Don’t forget to say something like, ‘Well done oh officer! Please join me oh. I can’t finish this suya.’ He might laugh and have some or just wave you to go after just peeping your boot.

9. Just as you are about approaching a checkpoint, stop your car a few metres away, come down and walk towards the checkpoint to make inquiries from the officer about a road or area that you are trying to locate. After the officer(s) has finished giving you directions thank him or them wholeheartedly, get back into your car and drive off. They wouldn’t think of stopping you after you’ve appreciated them and made them so significant.

10. Once stopped at a checkpoint, smile politely at the officer and say, ‘Good day officer. Would you like to see my papers or should I drop something for the boys?’ Hey, it’s not a bribe, just you offering to drop a tip so they can leave you on time. Besides, it’s an offer that a hungry policeman can’t refuse.

I’ll still advise that you have all your papers complete should in case any of these tips fail. I’m not advocating for breaking the law oh. And I’m not guaranteeing that all of them will work all the time. See them just as strategies to get through time-wasting checkpoints.

Have any other strategies you use to keep the cops at bay at checkpoints? Let’s hear ‘em in your comments!

Images courtesy:
Kayode Ogundamisi
Associated Press

17 Screamer(s):

HoneyDame said...

LMAAAOOOO....If we dont have any of the above, as a female or as a female companion to a male, can we just pull over once we sight a checkpoint and stuff our stomach (with clothes) as if we are pregnant? Do you think that will also work?!
All jokes aside sha, this list looks very very feasible!

Lmao, i found this really funny though. no. 3. hahahaha, no. 1, lol really??

Toinlicious said...

Lol. I liked d tract-sharing idea hehehe. I'm gona have to try des tips.
Shaking my head @NPF

Myne Whitman said...

You've really studied them well, lol...Our police have a long way to go.

Afronuts said...

@Honeydame...at least something on the list must work for you, even if you're a female driver.

@Coy Introvert...seriously...for real. I tried No. 1 & 3 and they worked!

@Toinlicious...trust me...its gonna be priceless watching the cop's reaction.

@Myne...lol...I did oh. And I experimented with them. There was one cop who got frustrated that he would get nothing and begged us to at least buy him a recharge card.

LOOOL hahahha...you just described my dad.hahahah lol..I love my Nigerian people oh..wow..lol..But how what is number difference in the new and tokunbo?

Afronuts said...

@Unveilinggold...really? lol! Wait which one would be your Dad - the Police or the motorist? Just asking.

autorose said...

In the country i live in. Police hardly accept bribes, if they do simply dial the hotline and he or she will be arrested, will definitely tr these tips when i visit Naija.

Afronuts said...

@autorose...That would be where...the US or Canada? Wish we couldhave such in Naija.

Auto Rose said...

@Afronuts. I live in Africa, everyday i am amazed at how helpful the police is!

Muse Origins said...

As funny as these are, i can actually see them working


seye said...


You know, as I started reading this, I remembered the last one I used. And as I was going to read point one, I saw you had adopted it.

A few weeks ago, a neighbor dropped me at the office in her car. Then for some reason, I had to go out. I decided to give her new car a spin. I got in the car, and lo and behold, the police men stopped me. They asked for my drivers' license. I swore to them it was in my own car and my car was 5min away and I could run to get it. They then pronounced a law I broke. Whatever it was, God knows. Straight away, the neighbor and I formed 'family'. I told the police man how my 'darling' forgot to put my license in the car. Oh of course her names were on all the papers so it wasn't hard. a handshake, a few jokes, 15 min and 1000 naira later, we were back on the road with them telling us not to mind the traffic lights.

MsNana_ said...

lool.. in ghana i had to give the police 10GHC, coz my friend forgot her license

Afronuts said...

@Autorose…whoa! There is an African country that’s like that? Amazing!

@Muse Origins…I actually tried most of them out!

@Seye…lol! I would have said you got away but the fact that you dropped 1k killed it. If you had started the ‘family’ argument before you reached that checkpoint, you’d probably still have your 1k.

@MsNana…lol! Ghana too? *SMH*

Afronuts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I always play messages from Daddy G.O whenever I drive. Na who born the policeman wey wan stop me...lol

abyss said...

My friend had only GHc10 with him when he was stopped by the police on his way to court. The police person took the GHC10 and gave him back a change of GHc5. Exactly like the picture you have on the blog post. My friend was shocked, he said the police took bribe and gave him change. (Ghana) Heehee