On our way home on Friday morning at about 12:45am from supporting DJ Obi at his 10-day attempt to beat world record with two of my friends, we stopped to get Sharwama at Maroccaine Restaurant (a popular 24-hr restaurant in Victoria Island). On our way out, we approached a police stop with three fully armed police officers at Ligali Ayorinde and turned on our inner lights and my friend driving wound down so they can see we were all harmless girls.
Immediately he started accusing her of holding something in her hand, aggressively questioning “what is in your hand?!". She shows him her empty hands and he goes on to say that he must search the boot and demands we come out of the car. I came out of the car to check this boot with him, he inspected, found nothing and before I closed the boot he quickly walked towards the passenger’s door I had left opened and grabbed my friend’s bag.
She asked him severally to return the bag, and we all started saying "give us the bag!" and then he began to rain insults on us, yelling “What’s in this bag? There is an ‘exhibit' in this bag! I must search this bag!” while continuously flashing his flash light directly in our eyes like we were criminals.
This did not even allow us to see his name or his badge so we know how to address him. Bear in mind we were just 3 girls and officer 2 & 3 stood there doing nothing like they were waiting for other cars to harass.
So I picked up my phone to call for help and before I knew it, he forcefully snatched my phone from hand leaving us in shock, fear and we frantically started shouting “give us our phone and bag back!” and even trying to get the attention of the few passerbys incase anyone could help.
Insults fly as things get heated up, he threatens us multiple times that he will use his belt on us and then I managed to grab my friend’s bag, but my phone remained in his possession.
He started insulting my parents, “God punish your mother and father! Your father is an idiot!”. He called us stupid, indisciplined etc. repeating himself “Am I your mate?”. I scream “you are holding my property! Give me my phone!....
...This is stealing! The police are stealing!” and that was when he released his grip of my phone and I started walking back to the car. He chased me and started pushing me and slammed my body against the car. Thank God my door was still open I jumped in, locked the door and my friend zoomed off.
As we drove off I felt a sharp pain, realised I was bleeding on my right hand and three of my nails had been broken. How can a police officer assault me like this? This is gross misuse of power and brutality.
We called Police Control, Rapid Response Service (RRS) and the emergency switchboard (112) who forwarded my number to another unit. They weren’t helpful at all, instead asked us what we expect them to do and were frankly not concerned. Someone from RRS advised I go home and call back at 7am. The emergency switch board told me they would forward my details and we should expect a call back… Till now, no call back.
This has opened my eyes to the fact that WE ARE NOT SAFE IN NIGERIA!!! THERE IS NOTHING LIKE EMERGENCY RESPONSE.
Think about it… If I were being brutally raped, robbed or attacked and I called our so called 'emergency service’, nobody would show up. It’s a sobering thought to think that;
The ones who should be protecting you are the ones to really be afraid of. If something horrible happens, there’s no calvary, there’s no red and blue sirens coming to your aid… YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN!