Tolu Abe shares her story of police brutality
Two years ago, Nigerian youths started the #EndSARS campaign against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, calling on the government to put an end to their activities.
Sharing their stories, which ranged from assault and armed robbery to those of cold-blooded murder, many said that they were arrested over things as flimsy as how they look.
Confirming these stories, a young lady, Tolu Abe shared her experience of police brutality. Sadly, 13 years after her experience, it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
Here is a flashback to when I was arrested on our street in Ketu for walking. Some 13/12years ago, I was about15 or 16. Tomboyish with unmade hair, and feeling like a relatively cool teenager. I went to get pure water at the street junction, this was around 8.30/9pm
As I crossed to the opposite side of the street, this guy (Perv1), tries to hold my hand, in front of a motel/shop complex. I yanked my arm and gave him a proper side-eye. A few steps further and this potbellied fellow in all black and a ‘kevlar’ vest tried to block me also.
“Where you dey go at this time of the night? Ehn? Where you dey come from?” He asked “I’m coming from my house right there,” I pointed, “going to get water at the junction” Perv 1: “She come out from that hotel oh! Na one of the ashawo wey dey there”
“Err, no I didn’t.” At this point I was flustered, “You just saw me walk out of that house right in front of you” Again I pointed to the house. Mr Kevlar vest went on”…..bla bla bla bla your father…..” Hearing him curse my father, I felt like 2 bolts unscrewed in my head.
To this day I wonder what Oshogbo weed I smoked that emboldened me to talk to an unknown man with a firearm like “Don’t you dare mention my father!!! Who do you think you are?? Who are you!! Before I knew it, I was bundled into a waiting danfo with some other people
all begging and crying to be pardoned for walking at night. I stayed aloof, fuming. ‘I’ve done nothing wrong. So, why cry? Fury and Ekiti blood were pushing me to tell the policemen they were still shit. Actuarry, remember that screw, it was screwing back by itself and
Offering slideshows of my fate at a police station. Who was I angry at? Purewater woman who saw me being taken and didn’t say Pim. That was the last time I ever willingly bought anything from her. Then the police. After allI had done nothing wrong. We arrived at Ketu police sta-tion and guys were told to go topless.
I was going to sleep in police station!!! ‘Haay God, what if I get raped?!’ Some 45minutes later my name was called, time to face the music. I sha walked out with my head held high, only to see family and neighbours all in nightwear.
Phew! My inner baby cried in relief. Pure water seller had told them what happened. As ‘Kevlar’ was narrating his story, I kept trying to point out the lies. I was roundly shut up by the man who came with my family to help free me. Mr Kevlar vest got plenty pleas and thanks.
I swallowed my hot tears of resentment and anger and went jejely home. The feeling of powerlessness was palpable fam. ‘Your hair was not neat’ ‘Studded blouse’… No be today police don dey arrest people for looks. Even worse when family join blame your dressing.
It’s been about 13 years now. And no, things aren’t any better.