It was around 10:00 pm on Wednesday night in Ilorin,the kwara state capital where I was sitting with a friend in the frontage of another friends shop playing game. We were surrounded by police men smelling of liquor and pointing gun at us from a distance as if we are harmful to the society.any effort to say a word qualifies you for a slap. My friend is a senior civil servant , but he was pushed and hit like a criminal. Even
when he introduced himself, they don’t care. I on the other hand didn’t bother to introduce myself since they were drunk and not open to reasoning. I just felt the issue will be resolved if we get to the station. My friend drove with a police officer to their station and I went with the police van. Upon moving a bit, a motorcyclist was coming and they packed to arrest him. But he was on speed so they try to disrupt him and he fell down introducing himself as a worker of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) but they didn’t listen, they bit him as he struggle with them. They took his motorcycle and we all head to the B division police station in Surulere,Ilorin.
Upon getting to the station, I was reunited with my friend who has been kept at the back of the counter among other victims. Every effort to speak to the officers proves abortive. They keep talking about the order from the DPO. According to a police officer, he said: don’t try to tell me anything, there is nothing I can do about it, this order is from the DPO and only him can listen or set anyone free. So you have to wait for the DPO.
We waited till around 12:00 before the DPO came, but even the DPO is not ready to listen to any one, he just went straight to his office an every effort to get across to him failed. After some minutes, he was going out to raid more people as he was also part of a team raiding with his personal car, The FRSC guy struggled his way to talk to him and this was how my friend also took the advantage as they are closer to his side. They both introduced themselves to him and he set them free, but he noticed many of their victims would go free if he keeps granting audience, so he decided never to listen to anyone again. My friend who tries to let him know we were together was not granted the audience. I try to talk to him myself but he his not ready to listen even when I say I am a human right advocate.
My friend’s car was cleared and he waited to see if he can talk to the DPO for me. After 1 hour, around 1:00 am, the DPO came back and my friend try to talk to him about me, he felt very angry and just walk away in anger threatening anyone who try to talk to him. When it was unsuccessful, I told my friend to go since there is nothing he can do.
We were like 40 people, among us was a banker, a pregnant woman a wife to a university lecturer both arrested, a chemist man,students,businessman and okada riders. The police where to detain us, so they wanted to search and collect our belongings which was handled by a female police officer with the name, FOLUKE ABOLARIN, a yellow fair woman. She was making fun of people, insulting and using abusive words on the people as she search, threatening and all sort, but I sit quietly listening and watching as she mock people while searching. When it came to my turn, this was the conversation that took place.
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): what is your name?
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): your name is not on the list
Victim: they wrote it, may be you didn’t see it
After searching for some while, she saw it
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): but it seems I have called it before
Victim: I didn’t hear
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): useless person
Victim: don’t call me that, why do you choose to insult people because they are here
Look at me from head to toe
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): bring out your things
Victim: brought out a wallet,phones,id card,cheque
Victim: can I keep the id
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): No, what useless id card are you keeping, we are taking it
Victim: but I only asked a question since the wallet cant take it and I don’t want it to be misplaced.
FOLUKE ABILARIN (POLICE OFFICER): what is wrong with you?
she came down from a chair and stand up in my front
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): do you think I am a hungry police, go and look my big car packed, my husband employ a lot of people like you and pay their salary so what non sense Id card are you talking about.
Victim: the card is mine and I am not your husband’s staff and I can never be.
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): angrily speaking, It is people like you who usually insult police outside and I cant stand here for you to insult me
Victim: I didn’t insult you
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): SLAP
Other victims rush to calm the victim down and hold him
Victim: you are a woman; there is nothing I can do to a woman.
Everyone was surprised…
FOLUKE ABOLARIN (POLICE OFFICER): continue in her ranting. End
About 40 people were locked up that nigh in two cells.
In the cell, people started to give account of how they were arrested. One victim, a university lecturer who was arrested with his pregnant wife said: I was arrested close to my house. I and my wife came back from a program and I am scheduled to attend another program that night, so my wife decided to walk me down the road to get a car and about some steps away from our gate, they packed and ordered us to enter their van.
A business man narrated: I have been waiting since about 8:30 pm at the general hospital round about waiting for my goods to arrive from Ibadan, but the bus didn’t come until around 9:30. As we finish offloading the cartoon of turkeys, standing by the road to get a car that will transport it to my destination; the police came in a private car with guns pointing at us as people run away including the Okada man I took from my area. We thought they were thieves but they showed id and uniform and ordered me to enter their car and all effort to speak to them failed. He said, even the DPO was with the team that arrested me. I was boggled into the car living my goods behind. After much hussle at the police station, I was taken back to where I was arrested but my good where no where to be found. Thanks to the Okada man I took from my area who ran away when they came, he checked back and secured my goods.
Two unilorin students said: we were standing by the road in sawmill calling taxi to oko-erin, you cant imagine the police were driving taxi. The taxi we called stopped and when we try to enter, gun was pointed at us and said, take them to the station.
A chemist man that was also arrested said: I just locked my shop and crossed to the other side and climb an Okada, upon moving a bit, a private car came close, hit us slightly and we fell down with the okada. I ran way when I saw gun believing they were thief, but I fear for the okada man,when they said they are police, I came out hoping to talk to them and introduce myself, but I am here now. Many okada riders were arrested also which is their usual ways. An elderly man who said he his a 400l student of law in the university of Ilorin said,I decided to study law now because of the several abuses I have faced from the police.
The next morning, the police didn’t open us for any discussion or identification until around 10:00 am. Some minutes to 10 here comes the DPO, we were opened and told to line up like criminals before the DPO in an open field and putting us into categories. This was when the DPO cares to know your identity, but to my surprise, I was the last person on the line but the others were not freed despite their identification in the morning, they were told to stay aside. But when he gets to me and introduced myself as a diplomat, I was asked for an id and I told him it is with your men. He ordered them to take me to bring it and when I did,I was released.
The question in my mind is,
1. Is this how people have been suffering in the hand of police?
2. What crime have we committed in accordance with the police act?
3. If any, What is the stipulated punishment for such crime?
I know I didn’t commit any crime, this is a tactics from the police to raise money. The appropriate authorities are watching while the people are faced with such violation and human right abuses. The creation of Boko Haram can not be far from frustrated people who felt unjustly violated. If these kinds of people are recruited by Boko haram, don’t you think the country would collapse as virtually every Nigerian have tested violation in the hand our so called friends and protector.
I hereby call on all activists, human right advocates, Human right lawyers, the Nigerian people and the appropriate authorities to ensure the following:-
1. Determine what violation has occurred in case and ensure justice to the people.
2. Prosecute the offenders among the Police from the DPO and his men for violating the people against the provision of the constitution
3. State in the police act where slapping people is accepted for no reason
4. Join our call for justice as you may be the next victim.
5. Create awareness about this, write the appropriate authorities, human right organizations,media and others.
ABOUT THE FEMALE POLICE THAT SLAPPED ME (FOLUKE ABOLARIN)
1. I am suing her as a person not the Nigeria police,because she acted on her own not the order of the DPO
2. I want her to be prosecuted and punished accordingly
If you can help in anyway, pls email