Posted on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 16:43

A day in a Life: Light on his feet in a Lagos traffic

Photo©Ben Figo EzeamaluA police traffic warden in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, Daniel Nwana is known as 'the Dancing Cop' for the finesse he brings to his traffic duties.

I'm a traffic warden, part and parcel of the Nigeria Police Force. I put in all my energy, talent, time, everything I have.

if I say I don't take bribes, they will say "Are people not giving you money?" But I don't ask anybody to give me money.

I don't reserve anything for any other thing. I have two children in the university. I have been 31 years in service and have been promoted only three times. Is this not wickedness?

What a wicked world. Is it a crime for one to be truthful, hard-working, dedicated? To abstain from corruption?

Because if I say I don't take bribes, they will say "Are people not giving you money?" But I don't ask anybody to give me money. I don't stop and arrest.

Instead, I delay him for some time. That's supposed to serve as a warning to the person. It's not that I arrest you then I take money.

I entered the force on 1 March, 1983 and in June 1991 I was promoted to Corporal. In September 1993 I was promoted to Sergeant, the rank I carried for 11 years before I was promoted to Inspector.

It was never my ambition to do police work. I was simply searching for a job. I left my secondary school in 1982.

In February 1983, my cousin, who was a police officer, sent for me to come to Lagos. He said they were recruiting traffic wardens. I didn't want to stay idle.

I came down to Lagos. He took me for selection. On 25 February I sat the entrance exam and passed.

I started the job, even though I was hoping that when I began to make good money I would continue to further my education.

But with time, I found out that the money was not coming. Everything was struggle, struggle, struggle.

That was until 1992 when there was a training course for police traffic wardens.

We were taught how we can work ourselves into the hearts of Nigerian citizens.

They call it the 'Papa Legge' System of Control – it involves body language.

You point your head or foot in the direction the vehicles should move. After that I got more desire to work. I said I will stick to it.

Count your blessings

Since then I have had joy in my life.

Because when you serve the people in a way that they love, they will show appreciation that you are serving them.

Those that cannot give you something, they will greet you.

They will tell you "God will bless you." They will say "No man can reward you but God will reward you."

I believe that's a good prayer and that is what you want when you are working, you need something like "God will reward you" and not that "God will punish you."

Whenever I'm controlling traffic, children coming out of school line up and watch me. Sometimes it even causes a hold up in the traffic.

You know you will not please everybody. Some will say "What is this one doing? Is this how dem teach you to control traffic?" Some will say "You will soon tire."

I told God, provided you give me strength, I will not be tired. I will do it and satisfy my desire.

And he's an able God, continuously helping me, giving me the strength to work.

My only regret is not receiving my promotion, even though I have written to the highest authority.

I need my promotion because it will also help me when I retire – it will bring up my pension. I need my promotion for my retirement. ●


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