It was around 4pm on Friday afternoon. A group of us – six young graduates, some of whom have been unemployed for years thanks to a broken system – sat nursing our choice of beverages at our neighbourhood bar Onishaga International Hotel in Akesan, as we fervently debated our latest political quandary: the celebration of Nigeria’s centenary in the face of terrorist attacks in Northern Nigeria. As was our tradition, we argued the merits and pitfalls of our Government until we reached a consensus.
On this particular afternoon, unbeknownst to us, a group of undercover policemen had infiltrated the hotel bar. They listened attentively to our heated debate, then, without warning or reason, arrested us at gunpoint. We were led, guns to our heads, our hands raised like wanted criminals, subjected to humiliation and ridicule in front of our peers into the unmarked police vehicle. We were powerless against these police officers. Our protests fell on deaf ears. We had no choice but to fall in line.y drove us to the Igando Police Station headed by CSP Ben Osuji, where we were detained. Some of us were physically assaulted under the watch of Inspector Bola, who claimed to be an SIB (State Intelligence Bureau) with a female police officer repeatedly assaulting one of us with her shoe.
We were released eight hours later. No explanation was given for our arrest or release. We were simply free to go. But not before two of out of the six of us were informed that our houses would be searched. Of course, no evidence of whatever it was the police officers were searching for was found in our respective houses.
In a purported democracy such as Nigeria how is it that law-abiding citizens arebeing arrested for simply speaking our minds? The emotional turmoil inflicted upon us and our families as a result of this unlawful act cannot be quantified. It is an injustice of the highest order, a violation of our human right.
We demand no compensation other than a written formal apology either from the DPO or on his behalf, and an assurance that such wrongful detention of innocent citizens will not repeat itself.
OlutolaBadejo, jnr; FeyisayoOgun; TaiwoAlebieoshu;OlaunlePopoola; AkinolaFawibe (Osha); Anthony Agbede.
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