The bus jolted suddenly, launching its occupants forward in synchronised rhythm. I steadied myself against the back rest of the chair in front of me else an unexpected headbutt would have been served to the oblivious dude with the earphones clinging to his head.
“Ah, ah, what happened” a woman queried no one in particular. Her voice betrayed a hint of fear.
Tilting rightwards from my position at the back seat to ascertain what triggered the sudden use of the brakes, I saw a car speeding away. It looked like an old Mazda or a Camry can’t really tell. A young man was chasing after the car; his right hand stuck into the driver’s side and his legs were struggling to keep up with the increasing speed of the vehicle.
Why would someone be chasing a car? I mused internally
“Follow that car! Follow that car!” the man sitting by the bus driver barked, hitting the dashboard with each command. I noticed his uniform – a mobile police officer aka MOPOL.
The Camry/Mazda had already gained some distance and the young man struggling with its driver had given up his pursuit.
What’s happening? Every passenger stretched and strained like giraffes, trying to make sense of the confused sequence of events.
The gear box croaked as the driver prepared for a friday morning car drama along Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja. The chase was on!
The fleeing sedan disappeared into a bend but quickly reappeared as we negotiated past other slower road users. We must get this guy (or girl!). For what? I had no idea.
“Follow him!”, the mopol officer ordered again as if we weren’t already doing that. I felt sorry for the bus though. It was squealing and groaning as the driver requested a performance it simply could no longer give. It was like asking a seventy year old man to catch up with his teenage grandson. Painful to watch.
The poor bus wailed along, the engine working harder than it had probably done in a few years.
“That’s how they kill people and just go away!” the passionate officer boomed to his colleague who was sitting next to him. Interesting how two police officers could witness the same incident and one grew hot while the other seemed completely indifferent.
Snippets of bus gossip trickled to me and that was when it all made sense.
The young man chasing the fleeing sedan was a cyclist. He had suddenly been knocked off his bicycle but was lucky enough to escape without injuries. That explained the jolting – the bus I boarded almost ran over him. The guilty driver didn’t bother to alight to check up on the accident he’d caused-a classic case of hit and run.
At Allen Junction
“Radio owa!”, someone announced, indicating they’d get off at the next bus stop (Radio bus stop).
Mehn, who’s this spoiler? We’re chasing an offender and you still want to alight? I grumbled (internally of course).
By this time, we could hardly keep track of the Mazda/Camry that was getting further away with every passing second.
The chase resumed soon enough though. Mr mopol was bent on accosting this fellow. Sedan was way, way ahead. Only a miracle would turn this in our (did I just say ‘our’?) favour.
Halleluyah! The traffic lights at Lateef Jakande junction turned red! Ehen! This guy can’t just escape so cheaply.
We flew towards the gathering mass of vehicles, anticipating a quick arrest before the lights turned green again, forever damning our chances of bringing justice.
“There! There! That’s him! Open the door!” Mr. Mopol brimmed with a mixture of excitement and anger.
He jumped over his colleague who sat closer to the door. Only an agile military man could execute that move so quickly and neatly. The officer bounded over to the suspected vehicle and stood before it.
Come down! I say come down!
A head grew out through driver’s window.
I say come down!
The confused head soon grew a body that slowly emerged from the vehicle with a half-smile that conveyed an obvious mixture of shock, embarrassment, trepidation and ignorance.
Wait a minute.
This can’t be true.
How did it happen?
We lost the offender!
Somewhere between “radio owa” and Lateef Jakande junction, a similar car had joined the traffic and we had zoomed in on the wrong automobile target.
Still trying to act unfazed by the blunder, Mr. Mopol paced back and forth through the grid of halted cars, but it was obvious – we’d somehow succeeded in losing the hit and run fellow.
The traffic light turned amber. Then green.
The sounds of engines rose again as motorists continued towards their destinations. Mr. Mopol had no option than to get back to his seat at the front row which he so skillfully exited a few minutes earlier.
A lost cause.
Reflecting though and knowing what I do about law enforcement agents in my country, one question nags at me.
Label me pessimistic or a ‘typical nigerian’, the question still refuses to go away: why did Mr. Mopol chase so hard?
WAS IT FOR THE LOVE OF JUSTICE OR HE SPOTTED AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME QUICK TGIF EARLY MORNING BUSINESS?
Hmmm…I guess I’ll never find out.
What do you think?
Live by Design.
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