Thursday, November 11, 2010

How I became afraid of the Nigerian Police Force (Part 2)

This post is continued from here.

"Wake up, my friend, and lock the door!"

By this time, both my friends who were originally in the room were outside - looking morose. I was scared, and confused, because I did not know who those men were or where they were taking my friends. Worse, I could not even muster the courage to ask.

One of the men who 'invaded' my room announced that he felt they should take me too, but the 'boss' had other intentions. I later gathered it was their usual practice to leave someone behind, to ensure that someone on the outside was making informed moves to secure the release of the arrested ones. He made sure I locked the door and detailed one of the other men to ensure that I stayed indoors. I was undecided on whether they were policemen or thieves, but I was starting to tilt towards deciding on the latter.

The instant they left, I made for my laptop and shoved it firmly under a pile of dirty clothes (I felt they were thieves), and then grabbed my Bible and tried to re-assure myself. By now, I felt sure they were thieves and I felt they had taken my roommates for sinister reasons, so I sent text messages to a few friends asking them to pray along. At about 5.30am, I mustered enough courage to venture out of my room and make enquiries. It was then that I found out they were policemen from More (Ife's major police station).

Calls were made, to the Student Union Government, my Aunt in Lagos, girlfriends and parents of the 'arrested' duo from my room - and others from other rooms (funny how no girls were arrested, isn't it?). Moves were made, ensuing in a short trip to More Police Station, where the official at the counter rudely told us she knew nothing about any arrests. This led to a trip to Osogbo, where we met with the Commissioner of Police for Osun State - and were directed to Lagos. The show wrapped up with a trip to Force CID Headquarters, at Alagbon, Lagos.

We found that the 'poor' boys had been charged with *wait for this* - Economic Sabotage with intentions to undermine National Interests!!! I gathered that everyone who had a laptop AND a modem (and had the misfortune to be working on them at that time) were arrested that morning. So, thanks to a few 'Yahoo boyz' - owning a laptop and a modem had suddenly become crimes 'punishable' by 'arrest'. Of course, the arrested fellows were put behind bars - same as other suspected murderers, robbers, etc.

Some parents had already bailed their children, with the least amount paid being N50, 000. The leaders of the Student Union registered their displeasure at the mode of arrest, and ensured that all the arrested students were accounted for.

The most interesting part as far as I was concerned was that I was supposed to be awake, making a blog post (which would have put me in the laptop AND modem category) - so I would have been arrested too, if I wasn't so tired from my earlier physical exertions.

I look back now and I can smile, but I remember that morning - and it was pure terror. I was scared silly, and I remember expecting one of those guys to stick a gun into the room any moment and blow my brains out. I remember writing up a note, telling my parents I loved them and asking that my laptop go to my younger brother. May sound funny, but really - it was THAT bad!

I don't know what you think, but I don't think I was being paranoid. By my standards, how I behaved was perfectly normal - expecting as I was woken from deep sleep by a jab from an assault rifle.

Tonight, I will sleep in a car, or maybe on a table. The reason is simple. From that day, till date, I have not had a good night's sleep in that room. No night spent there is complete without a nightmare where someone comes in and points a rifle at my temple. I would rather sleep on a table or a chair, because I would rather have discomfort than fear.

That brings questions to mind, a lot of them. If I was this affected by being woken by a rifle that probably had no bullets in it, then what happens to children around the world who grow up in war-torn areas? What happens to the minds of kid soldiers, who have managed to kill up to fifteen other humans before they attain the age of fifteen?

I have read that talking about a fear openly can help to overcome it. I will try to sleep in Finetouch again tomorrow. I will try not to be afraid, and I hope that the nightmares will not come back.

Let's heal the world, and make it a better place. Peace.

Its funny how I still have 'block', but I know that if I don't manage to post this article now - I may never get down to posting it. My mind has moved on, and something else is in the works. I'm sorry if the style is inconsistent - but hey, this is pure me!


  1. I have had similar perhaps more brutal experience with the NPF!

    I suggest you send this in to wider platforms - / NVS etc.

  2. I agree with Dapxin. Na wa o...I hope I never experience such.

  3. Dang!! I'm glad you're okay o and everyone one else was released unharmed. Nigeria and its "leaders" / "officials". Smcheew.

    I totally know what you mean about being scared to sleep there again. Yup yup, the kid soldiers wahala does make you wonder. It's just so sad. All those images. Hmmn.

    PS: since my comment is coming late, I hope you're much much better.