19 Jul 2016

READ: Disturbing Story of How Nigerian Police allegedly Treated Man Cruelly

My name is Benjamin Ogunbodede and I work in the TV/Film production company. I write to dispute the way I was treated by some members of the Nigerian Police on Ajuwon road the night of 15th -16th July 2015.

I was heading back home from work around 10.30pm when I was stopped by the police at a random checkpoint at the junction that leads to my street. I just relocated from Ogudu Lagos to this area in the month of March; so, I am less than 6 months old here.

These police officers were not dressed in the usual police uniform, instead they wore MOBILE POLICE POLO shirt. They asked me to park my car, and I did. I was asked for my drivers license and car documents, and I obliged. They further requested that I open my boot for checking, and I obey.

The next thing, they asked about my relationship with the lady that was in the car with me. I actually gave her a lift to somewhere close to her destination. I told them I was just giving her a lift since I was going in the same direction. To my greatest surprise, the officer and one of his colleagues said I should be taken to custody for “human trafficking/kidnapping.” I stood there in total shock and every attempt to talk myself out of the allegations fell on deaf ears.

I was asked to get into my car and drive to the police station (Ajuwon, Ogun state). I pleaded with them to allow me place a call to my family, but I was denied. Rather, they seized all my personal belongings and the lady in my car was taken in the police patrol bus.

When I got to the station an officer by the name Yusuf asked to check my laptop and phones to get something incriminating. He checked and came up with nothing at all, and then he and this other colleagues asked for my vehicle documents again. They scanned and skimmed through until they came up with something in my vehicle document. They accused me of stealing the car because I have a different plate registration number. I said the former owner wanted to have his plate number back since it was registered in his name, so I had to make a change of ownership, police report and a new number plate. That explanation didn’t fly with them also.

Next they said the lady that was in the car with me at the time said she is a sex hawker and I was taking her home for the night, and I promised to pay her N8, 000. I said it’s not true that if the lady really said that I would like her to look at me in the eyes and say it while am there. Instead, I got a new charge, which is adultery (I am unmarried). They said, “guy leave story and settle us or you will be here longer than you can ever imagine.” I asked what the settlement was and I was told N50, 000. I said there was no way I have cough out such money when I didn’t do anything they have charged me for. My response got me being called unprintable names like “omo ale, oloriburuku etc.” and I got locked up.

Few hours later, my oppressors in uniform (although, on this fateful night they all chose not to wear their uniforms probably so that the oppressed citizens won’t be able to name them) got me out of the cell and again asked If I was ready to settle, I said I cannot pay that kind of money. So they started various antics, they asked me to write a statement, and to my surprise they wanted me to write what they dictated and not the TRUTH. I was even ordered to write my account balance down after seeing statements of my account on my phone, how much I earn and what kind of apartment I live.

To cut short this epistle of my ordeal with the people who are meant to protect and maintain law and order, around 5.30am they came back for me in the cell again and asked if I was enjoying my new lodge. I had to beg them to let me go because I had a test slated for 8am that morning. I agreed to pay N10, 000 and one of them quickly got an “okada” in the compound and we rode to an ATM machine (Sterling bank, Ajuwon road) to withdraw the money, and then back to the station. I filled their bail form and all my properties was released to me. The officers on duty made sure I didn’t get the DPO’s contact details pasted on the walls of the station.

I am deeply pained by the inhumane treatment I got from these rouges called Officers of the law, and I will not rest until justice is served accordingly. We cannot continue like this and expect a miraculous change that we all sing.

Facebook: Niyiben Ogunbodede
Twitter and Instagram: @benady11

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