The Nigerian Police & Pidgin English mentality

Have you ever wondered what language can do to a person? Do you know that the language a person speaks and the culture associated with such language can influence that person’s way of life and particularly the way such person behaves?

Now there are a whole lot of questions we need to ask ourselves and try as much as possible to find answers to them if really we want to solve a lot of problems confronting Nigeria. These issues may sound funny but they are really serious.

Sometimes it is those issues we ignore and feel they are not important that are often the underlying reasons why certain people behave in certain ways. For us to know why some people often exhibit certain behavioral tendencies, we need to properly examine a lot of things
about them and including their language.

There is no doubt that a lot of human traits are associated with language or the type of language a person speaks.

Now let me ask Nigerians these pertinent questions. Why should the average Nigerian police man always speak pidgin English even among themselves? Why can’t police men communicate in good English even when they actually understand English but they chose to communicate in pidgin English? When you go to the average police station in Nigeria for a case, what common language do you hear police men communicating among themselves?

What is pidgin English and how did the language come about? If pidgin English is an adulteration of the standard English and since Nigeria has chosen the English language as an official means of communication, then why can’t our police officers speak good English to us when we get to the police station?

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When an average Nigerian police man stops you on the road and asks for your vehicle particulars or asks you any other questions or when you have any other encounter with an average Nigerian police man and you try to politely explain certain things to them in English, why is it that they often make statements like: “This one na grammar im dey speak”, “Your grammar too much”, “So you wan show me say you go school abi, you think say me I no go school too”? Why do we have police men in Nigeria with this type of mentality? Do we really deserve these type of police men in the first place? In advanced climes, a police man will politely ask you questions and expect you to explain yourself and would readily listen to you while you try to explain. They would not query you over the type of grammar you speak but would only be interested in knowing if you have committed a crime or not or to wholeheartedly carry out any investigation they need to carry out on you. In Nigeria, a police man would find fault with you just because he is looking for a way to extort money from you or to make you bribe him for an offense you committed instead of either applying his discretion and letting you go if he needs to, or bringing you to book according to the law.

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The Nigerian Police & Pidgin English mentality

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