In America every city takes pride in their cops they give them names like New Yorks Finest. In Nigeria Edo state Benin city it is a different case .
This is not a story of Great Evil This is a Story that could have turned into Incarnate Evil. I am not here to tell this story so that it doesnt happen to another person only .Apparently many nigerians are so desensitized to their rights even in the midst of Boko Haram or MEND.I am here to tell my story so it does not happen to ME AGAIN !
I move around a lot with a mobile laptop and blackberry and their are Police checkpoints Every where in Nigeria now .
On Saturday about 10pm i had just finished a business meeting with some friends and i had initially called a cab service ( my regular
cabbie) to pick me up and take me home as i was not feeling too well.Our meeting got delayed and i told him to go and i would call him when we
were done. After the meeting i called him and he was already engaged with another client.The Cab Service then sent another driver to me .I had
some few months ago gone through a medical surgical procedure which required i that i could not stand for too long nor sit down .this was the reason
why i had been in Benin city for the past few weeks to convalesce in a serene environment
About 5 minutes from the venue of my meeting we encountered a road block and about 5-7 policemen flagged us down and initially began a verbal
harassment of the driver . one of them spotted my rucksack by my side and immediately demanded i come down and declare its contents.I
complied as they were interrogating the driver and from their mien and the way they brandished their guns i realized they needed no prompting and
would unleash themselves if any of their demands were not met .
They were saying if I did not know that boko Haram was around and I calmly said i was aware of Boko Haram but never theless was unaware of any
curfew in Benin .They tore through my rucksack ripping through my documents, and other paraphernalia .. at the time of this report i have not been
able to ascertain what i lost .As soon as they discovered my laptop they joyfully told the driver to park properly as this seemed to be some kind of
evidence.. all this time we were on the middle of the road and they led me to a minibus which was being manned by a plain clothes looking fellow
who initially did not strike me as an officer .
we were left standing by the bus stop for about 30minutes and the driver obviously versed with such altercations was wont to beg them which he did .
They eventually decided they could give me audience and demanded what i had with me I clearly understood what they meant and kept a stony
silence .I am not very good at that sort of thing but at this juncture they seemed to have struck an accord with the cab driver who suddenly started
to ask for his cab fare amidst further taunts from the police men that i must sleep in the cell.Knowing the strategy of being a victim i kept my mouth
shut as i clearly realized that any further insistence of mine might turn ugly.
Mind you they had my laptop out in the open my blackberry my nokia phone and my documents strewed out every where. They took turns to search
my rucksack expecting to find something incriminating but they found nothing . I calmly stood aside and the same man who had gotten me out of
the vehicle demanded for my id card . I presented my Nigerian Drivers License and he scrutinized it and asked me what i was doing with a laptop,4
internet modems and blackberry phone ( Actually he thought my flash drives were internet modems).I tried to explain this to him but he vehemently
told me to shut up that he was not an illiterate .I told him I am online blogger and I work with an online publication from the United States of America and immediately
his ears perked up and somehow misconstrued my words that i was from America .which he kept on saying through out ."you be americaner eh we
go see for station "
He then bluntly told me that my Drivers license was useless to him as identification and he was certain i was a yahoo yahoo a term supposedly
equivalent to a conman And people like us felt we were too educated and think policemen are stupid . He had me power up my laptop and went
through it religiously with my black berry he then called another fellow probably the techie of the lot who went through my laptop files etc . but
found nothing incriminating .
He then told me to stand aside that i must sleep in the Police Station to which i tried to explain my medical condition which sadly fell on deaf ears
and at this time i noticed other people who came to the bus and were also harassed . I watched as money changed hands and they were set free .
With the cab criver still apparently clearly now in collusion with them i decided to pay him 500naira out of the negotiated sum of 1000 naira to drop me at home. I
begged him to stay on with me as it was certain i was now at the mercy of these coppers if he left.He Left.
I was left standing and after a while was ordered to get into the Bus and in silence driven to Aideyan police station .On getting there they parked the
bus in front of the police station whereupon i demanded to make a few phone calls and was handed my nokia phone .I called my business partner
Whom I had just left and he began making calls to other friends .. He asked to speak to the officer and they were on the phone for a few minutes and all his efforts to
explain who i was also fell on deaf ears apparently my phone credit ran out . I asked for my Blackberry and called Emmanuel Asiwe of huhuonline.com in the united States . whom i work with who also engaged them in conversation to which they also declined his efforts demanding that he should come
over to the Police Station to identify me at that time of the night I wonder how they expected him to come from America to do this .
Seeing that all my efforts were apparently now in vain they bundled me out of the bus and at this time i was in some serious pain from my medical
condition .It was kinda scary to be amidst 5policemen with guns being led into a Police Station for the simple "crime" of carrying a laptop .
I dared not to say a word as it seemed they were enjoying my wincing and occasional sighs I was expecting the worst already knowing what had befallen online
bloggers from experience so i kept mum and followed them into the police Station .
I was brought before the CO of the Station who told me to stand and i pleaded with him to allow me to sit as i was in pain but he told me to keep
quiet as the officers who brought me began to narrate what was going on with various lies which i tried to correct .
. At this juncture more calls began to come in on my phone and i asked to take my calls . After my conversations the interrogation continued They must
have noticed the caliber of names being mentioned and suddenly their attitude changed
The CO told me to speak and i explained exactly the same thing i told the previous officer .I told the CO calmly to ask his men If i had attempted to
resist arrest nor raise my voice at them to which they replied I HAD NOT ..
They conferred among themselves for a minute and then
Abruptly he immediately commanded them to go and drop me off wherever i wanted . I thanked him quite skeptical of going into the same vehicle
with this same people who were clearly vexed that their CO let me go and amidst a stony silence I asked if they could drop me off close to home as
it was after 2am in the dead of the night and they got angry and said they were not taxi's and would drop me off where they liked . The took me to
time out Bar on Airport road and ordered me out and screeched off .
The ordeal i went through to get home . I could not get a cab to take me home as the Club was closed I was left in the company of pimps
bouncers,prostitutes and maybe even robbers .I got home eventually but that is another story .
What saved me that day was clearly The Grace of God.. the grace on my lips to keep almost subservient through out the ordeal as i was faced with a
very clear and present danger all through .I lost financially that day I lost documents also I lost my dignity,my pride .I lost the faith which i had been
trying to build in the Law enforcement agencys of this Country .
I am back in Bed as my medical condition was aggravated by that experience and I am seeking for redress for this gross abuse of my fundamental
They did not have to beat me to bloody pulp for my cries now to make sense they suceeded in confining me back to my bed as my condition right now demands i stay in bed at least for the next two weeks lying down on my back !
IF I concatenate all the IFS of that one single night in the hands of these heartless people I shudder intensely at what COULD have happened to me that has happened to many people and WILL happen to many people in the future
sometimes we wait for God to send a sign before we act .. we want to see 3cats and one black rat first before we move
IT is better to make a big deal out of a small thing that could have been a big deal than to make a big deal out of a big deal and it becomes a small deal . Be Faithful in little things so that when Big things come you will be faithful in them too
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These maniacs keep oppressing people and getting away with it because most Nigerians don't bother to fight back. This nonsense has to stop. Otherwise they will get bolder. Already there are rumours some officers sexually exploiting ladies. If we don't all stand up against this madness, it will someday be our turn and God help us!
JB I am glad you are out. Can you imagine what would have happened if you didn't have someone to call? You probably would have had a serious health through standing or getting beaten in the cell by inmates.This is one reason the fortunate have to fight for the unfortunate.
I am so sorry about your ordeal. I believe you should make a formal complaint to the Police Commissioner and the Inspector General of Police, and request for an apology and compensation for the abuse of your dignity.
This is the only way we can get our Police to discharge their duties professionally. Our police officers have turned hustlers who look out for any opportunity (sometimes bothering on criminality) to make money. I do appreciate there are some fine officers in the force, but the legion of others who probably, make up the majority have turned into dangerous hustlers. We have to fight this festering rot.
This is so unfortunate; no wonder I was unable to reach you when I tried to earlier. I do hope that you recover quickly, and better still take action against these jokers. Truth is unless we all stand up for our rights we have no hope of retaining said rights.
Take care Bro
But i though the IGP had ordered all police road blocks to be removed?....what are those cops still on the road for and after they capture an innocent person, they close shop for the day.