Nigeria police publish tips on how to survive their checkpoints – BBC

Smile, be polite, and avoid fighting an officer. These are some of the tips to improve drivers' experience during a police roadblock in Nigeria, according to the force's Twitter account.
It is not clear what prompted them to share the 16 guidelines, but a recent embarrassing viral video of an officer hassling a driver at a checkpoint for a bribe might be behind it.
In it, an officer is captured asking for a bribe of 4,000 naira ($10; £7) because the initial offer was, according to him, not enough.
Such incidents have reportedly ended in motorists being shot dead after drivers refused to oblige.
The police do not address the issue of bribe solicitation in their "tips for safe and cordial relationship at checkpoints", but advise that:
* Take note of the name tags, Force or Service numbers, personal description, description of weapons or patrol vehicle of the security officer especially where the officers begin to conduct themselves in unprofessional manner.
So, just in case you're wondering how to comply with the guidelines, here's what a motorist should do:
Slow down as you approach the checkpoint, ensure the car's interior lights are on, if it's at night, and keep your hands visible to avoid spooking police officers.
Lowering the volume of the car radio would be greatly appreciated:
* Turn down the volume of your car stereo. Courtesy demands this. Besides, you are able to hear each other better. This simple act will also help you to win the confidence of the security operative.
Goading a police officer is also not a good idea:
Oftentimes, you hear people say things like ‘shoot me, if you can!” Note that this is a recipe for disaster! It is very provocative and an unnecessary call for war. So, please play safe, more so, as you do not know the state of mind of the officer concerned.
So is touching an officer:
There are a thousand and one ways to seek redress where you feel your rights have been infringed upon.
* Never try to touch an officer in an unfriendly manner. He may suspect you of trying to disarm him
The police also felt it was necessary to warn about the potentially fatal consequences of fighting an armed police officer:
* Also, don’t go into a physical fight with an armed security officer. He may resort to the use of his weapon (rightly or wrongly) to defend himself.
* Avoid unnecessary argument with armed security personnel.
Most Nigerians don't trust the police because they see them as unprofessional and corrupt, according to BBC Nigeria editor Aliyu Tanko.
They often complain about the ubiquitous checkpoints, which many feel have been set up purely to extort bribes.
Nigerian police are among the worst paid and ill equipped in the world, our reporter says.
The police, however, see bad interactions with the public as being a result of misunderstandings.
They advise the public to be courteous when engaging with them:
We know it’s their job, but a little kind word from you will do a lot of good. Remember when you smile at the mirror, the mirror smiles back at you.
The guidelines are being seen as part of efforts by the police service to burnish its image. It comes after the police held a public engagement event on social media.
The reaction on Twitter to the police checkpoint guidelines has been mixed:
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