My neighbor and her visiting girlfriend had just left my apartment. They came to copy some new movies from my laptop although I suspected they had other motives. The files were about 5GB so it was taking a while. They decided to go buy a few things outside while I monitored the copying. I began to feel sleepy and dozed off. Next thing I heard was knocks on my door. “Bella, come in. The door is not locked”, I yelled. The door flung opened and I was surprised. Four unusual faces with rifles in their hands stepped into my apartment. “Na you be Tunde, abi?”, one of them asked. I answered, “Yes”. “Your presence is needed in our station”, another one said.
I know the Nigerian police too well for me to argue. They’ll gladly batter you even if you’re the governor’s son. They’re ready to apologize and face the consequences later when your father arrives. I picked up a shirt and made to follow them. “hey! Go back. Carry your laptop and phone follow body”, another one said rudely. I didn’t argue still but then I noticed they were in mufti. Then I asked as politely as I could, “Bros, please you’re not being fair to me. You’re not in uniform. How am I sure I’m not being kidnapped”. Then another one responded, “no worry, when you reach station you go sabi whether na kidnap or not”. I was shown a very dirty laminated ID card.
They had a Volkswagen Veragon bus parked right outside the main gate. There were two other fresh looking boys already sitting inside the bus. They were handcuffed together. One was bleeding just above his right eye. He must have resisted arrest or tried to claim his rights. They drove around the neighborhood and picked up a few other guys. Some escaped as they were lucky to get informed before the police were able to get to them. After about two hours on the road we finally arrived at the station. It was a full bus and we walked in a straight line into the station. I felt like an Edo immigrant in the Libyan slave market as we walked in.
We were handed sheets of paper and told to write statements. Those who resisted arrest earlier were immediately thrown into the cells. I could hear their screams as the inmates welcomed them with hot slaps and kicks. One of the officers looked at me and asked for me to be moved into the cell. I didn’t protest still. I barely asked for him to let me finish writing my statement. One sheet was filled so I requested for another sheet of paper. “Shuo! You think say na exam you come write for here?”, one of the officers asked from behind the counter. I just looked at her and continued writing after I got the sheet I asked for.
One of the officers that was at my house earlier returned and took my statement. “You don write say you be yahoo boy?”, he asked. I stared like I didn’t understand a thing he was saying. First, he threatened to hit me with his gun. Then he stayed with me and ensured I wrote it down that I was an internet fraudster. He left after that and I continued writing. He just invoked the writer in me and I poured down my anger into the statement. I didn’t end the writing until I have stated that the early part of the statement was written under duress. Furthermore I was embarrassed in my neighborhood. The nasty officer soon returned. He scanned through my statement and nodded before accepting it. Next thing I heard was, “comot their clothes make dem go stay inside cell”.
I tried to explain that I am a blogger and not a yahoo boy. None of the policemen seemed to understand what blogging means. They shut me up like a baby and threatened to shoot my ankle if I dare speak again. I peeped into the cell while taking off my clothes and realized there were eight inmates in all, including the two that resisted arrest earlier. It meant we only had six inmates to contend with. Meanwhile, I and the yahoo boys that were arrested were nine in number. The cell doors opened and we filed in.
To be continued…