It has become a familiar sight on our roads -- police check points being mounted anywhere, anytime throughout the year. One therefore begins to wonder the reason behind these exercises. I said wonder because many have witnessed, and this is on a daily basis, unwarranted handshakes between police officers and motorists in broad daylight after checking ones driver’s license or insurance.
Few days ago, the Kairaba Police Traffic officers mounted such a road block next to their station during morning rush hours. Vehicles queued up all the way to the traffic light thereby blocking the intersection. It took me and other motorists an average of ten minutes to get to the check point, only to be asked my driver’s license. Handing over my license to this young female officer, I said to her “this is too much, a random sampling should be the way to go about it”, to which she replied “go tell the IG.” I responded “I cannot see the IG but I am telling you as his representative on the ground”. Her last words were “you stupid man, get out of here”.
The police is a discipline force and I am confident that their training curriculum does not include a chapter on sulkiness towards civilians. All the same, since she referred me to the IG, I am taking this opportunity to ask the IG whether he instructed his traffic officers to do 100% verification during such exercises, that is, every single driver to produce his/her driver’s license/insurance. I want to believe that you, Mr. IG, did not because you are acquainted with the statistical jargon “random sampling”. If not, let me illustrate.
Suppose there are 100000 vehicles in the country, it will be reasonable to assume that the same number of people are driving those vehicles, +/-5% margin of error. As in everywhere in the world, there are non-conformists and in this case, an estimated 10% (10000) of motorists will not renew their driver’s licenses/insurance. Statistically, this means that for every ten motorists, one will not have a valid driver’s license/insurance. Given this scenario, your officers should be checking every tenth vehicle that gets to their check point. And for god’s sake, the scrutiny should not be done in the middle of the road but on the shoulders thereby allowing traffic to flow smoothly.
Mr. IG, this method of checking driver’s licenses and vehicle insurance is more efficient and believe me, yields the same result as what presently obtains. Besides, it will relief people of road related stress.
Mr. IG, I still maintain that you are well acquainted with random sampling. The question that therefore begs to be asked is: why are your officers not practicing this simple method which I am sure they have been instructed to? Is it lack of supervision or deliberate act so that handshakes will continue?