Sitting on the cold floor of the Area F Division of the Police Force quarters with my torn jeans and rumpled T-Shirt on that fateful day, a day that seemed like the much anticipated second coming of our Lord Jesus, I wished I woke up from the frightful nightmare. Unfortunately, the cue to usher me back to reality never came. It is real!
My crime was hanging out with a beautiful lady on a Friday night after work.
On that day, the 30th day in August, 2012, a date that has become like an unforgettable movie scene in my mind’s eye, and will always remain new in my memory, I met her (name withheld) on my way home from work. I saw her at the junction, where she walked her friend to board a cab. So we decided to walk back home. We conversed while walking home and we decided to hang out at a cool spot where we can ease off the week’s work, an acceptable way to usher in the weekend. We’ve both been seeking an opportunity like this to be together. You know why? We were church members, and both single. She sang in the choir and I was the youth president. She was one of those choristers most male members in church would love to have as wife; that is, if the pastor wasn’t interested in her. Simply put, she is dishy, with an excellent deportment. We picked a bar (name withheld) around the estate, closest to home, and decided to do some drinks. We got talking; issues from church, education and relationships became a point of our discourse.
However, our conversation paved way for a more intimate topic and before I knew it, she placed her legs on my thighs at a public bar. I would not describe myself as an emotional person, but I believe in “chemistry.” Things unimaginable happened at that point *winks* It wasn’t a bad day after all, as we both loosened up to grasp a feel of what is termed “the outside world” by the church. I realized we suddenly became “heathens” in this manner of behavior, and all biblical means of putting members like us under check in church were in a matter of minutes, discarded. This gave me a clear understanding of the expression “No Church in the Wild.” We started having a swell time, no doubt.
Time flies, they say. Some good moments don’t last. When the waiter brought the cheque and I settled the bills, it was about 9:30pm. Home wasn’t on our minds then, but chilling much longer before going to prepare for Vigil. We never saw what was coming. About 10-15 minutes later, the unexpected happened. Two police vans with officers fully armed numbering about 20 came to the bar. They asked us to follow them to the station. For what?? I think you should answer that! Why should I follow you to the station was my only question, and this question was answered with a series of slaps and punches I’ve never imagined could be given to a human. My stubbornness grew too and I decided to resist these so called hoodlums that called themselves officers of the law. Instead, about ten of them gathered around me and started giving me a beating I can’t communicate in vivid terms. They hit me with guns. They lifted me and threw me into one of the vans. I jumped out. I was crowded again, but now, with shouts of “shoot him in the legs”while they do me injustice by hitting me like someone caught in the act of an unimaginable crime. Meanwhile, my “Partner in Christ” was already crying and I guessed her motto at that point was “obey before complain.” She obeyed them at all point and same time trying to calm me down, urging me to comply with their wishes. I got into the van in the end and we were driven to the station. At some point in the van, on our way, my first point of call was my pastor, because I then assumed this was more like a church affair: a choir member and youth leader… hehehe… LOLZ! Pastor promised coming to see us immediately at the station, which he did. By the time we got to the station, we were welcomed with knocks and slaps again. I met a full house at the station as both males, females and under age persons were already there on temporary visit to Police Quarters that night. Get it straight guys, the whole town was raided that night.! Period ! This isn’t about committing a crime, but a caterpillar/cankerworm that has licked the integrity of Nigeria’s Police Force. THEY BUST PEOPLE TO GENERATE FUNDS.
Same vans that dropped us off at the station went back to town to raid other people, and by 11pm, the station was full with people who were probably just thinking what to have for dinner that night. We were called to write statements and soon, money was accepted for bail. Imagine over a hundred people paying the sum of 10,000 naira as bail for committing no crime. My supposed girlfriend, who was my ally in this mess, became my only concern, not minding the embarrassing situation that had happened. I had so much confidence that I was not going to sleep in the cell that night until our pastor arrived and was told that we were members of Boko Haram, planning to detonate a bomb at the bar where I and my church member were hanging out. Besides, she was called a whore and we were reported having illicit sex at a public bar.The officers told pastor the sum of N40,000 each would be accepted as bail, whereas there was a bold placard that read “Bail is Free.” My pastor negotiated to pay less but wasn’t accepted by the officers. Time was already running out as it was about 12am and pastor had to be in church for vigil. He left with the promise of coming to bail us in the morning. That was how I slept in a Police Cell in my country where I am a Tax Payer. Before entering the cell, the District Police Officer (DPO) came and mocked at us. He said “when I say Hello, You Say Hi.”
D.P.O : Hellooooooooo
Unfortunate People: Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
As if that wasn’t enough, it was made clear that this is a routine exercise to generate money by the Police. So, “everyone calm down, make phone calls and ask someone to come and bail you.”
Life in a police cell is one you can only wish your most despised enemy. They also have pastors in there… LOLZ. Hardened criminals too who welcome you into their fold by assaulting you.
At dawn, I was allowed to make a phone call; this time, I called my boss at the office. Words can’t express my gratitude to him, because he eventually sent a driver with a colleague, who came to bail me, coinciding with the arrival of my pastor and my lady’s father (lol). The price for bail had dropped considerably at this time, and after much negotiation, we were granted bail at the sum of N5,000 each.
It’s rather an unfortunate situation, you’d agree.
There are over 70 accredited institutions of higher learning in Nigeria, yet, I have not seen any youth who wants to work with the Police Force as a career. Maybe you have, I don’t know. But believe me, I have NOT! That leaves me with the question of the caliber of people they recruit in Nigeria’s Police Force. Peradventure if you find yourself there, you eventually become like one of them, characterized by the most unimaginable human traits conceivable.
Nigeria Police Force needs a revamp, an overhauling. They say “Since the beautiful ones are not yet born, the ugly ones became beautiful.” But there’s a price to pay if we allow the ugly ones become beautiful. What is the way out ???