A day to remember: My ordeal with policemen
I was assaulted by 4 policemen. I was on a bike when the police stopped me and 4 of them surrounded me. They asked me what job I was doing, and I told them I’m a student. They asked what was in my bag, I told them it was my laptop. They demanded to see it, I asked why. The next thing I heard was two heavy slaps. As I was still recovering, another slap stung me from the right side. I became furious, and demanded to be taken to the police station. As at that time, they had already forcefully collected my laptop and had started cocking their guns, telling me they would kill me and put a gun in my bag. I stood my ground and demanded to be taken to the police station. As they saw that people were already gathering, they had no choice but to take me to the station. I got there and more policemen came out threatening me. I refused to bow to their antics. At the station, they refused to let me see the DPO, they locked me in a room and stripped me of my shirt, inspecting my back for marks (they thought I was a cultist who had just been initiated). After that, they asked me to write a statement, I refused. At that point, the SUG President, Omojay, had already put a call through to them demanding my release, he was told that I was ‘bragging’ and that I have refused to apologise to them. They continued searching my bag, went through my system, searched my pocket and emptied my books on the floor. When they found nothing to use, one of the policemen told me that ‘IF TO SAY NA NIGHT, I FOR DON FINISH YOU. DEM NO GO FIND GUN FOR YOUR BAG?’ (Meaning, if it was night time, I would have killed you, do you think they won’t find gun in your bag?). I was eventually allowed to see the DPO, they tried to distort the story to him, but I put the story to him straight. He initially tried to justify their actions, but later apologised to me, telling me that he authorised them to search EVERYBODY with bags considering the high rate of cultism and robbery in the area. He later realised that I was the Coordinator of CDHR in OOU and that we submitted a letter to his office the previous day, he apologised profusely, told me to sit down, offered me a cold drink, and struck up conversations explaining his challenges since he was transferred here and how difficult it has been. At that point, I let go of my anger and told him ok, because I had initially threatened to fight them with everything I have. As I went outside, the policemen who had assaulted me earlier came and shook my hand, telling me sorry and that ‘NA STRESS DEY TOO MUCH’. They took my number and said they will call me and that I will ‘CARRY THEM GO DRINK.’ I left and continued on my way after wasting more than 4 hours of my time.
Following that ordeal, an article I wrote last year about the Nigerian Police Force came to mind. In that article, I called for a re-orientation of people in that force. The call reverbrates now more than ever!
Ogunjimi James Taiwo
Posted from Apostle of Change