Hello Sahara Reporters:
I write to inform you how the Police Force in Nigeria has used the curfew as an avenue for extortion and enriching their coffers.
I was arrested on Friday, 8th of May 2020 for violating the curfew along with some other people. The police was parading with a bus and many vehicles and we were moved to the Ejigbo Police Station. We were informed that the DPO will decide our fate the next morning.
First issue I had was how some people were beaten up by the police. This may not seem out of place as they will say that they are doing their jobs. We were moved inside the police cells. We all know how little these cells are.
Second issue I had was when I had to question one of the officers named Yusuf how many people were meant to be in a cell. At the time I got in, we were 10. Later another person was brought in and we were informed that it was the last person they will bring. Furthermore, they brought 3 more persons into my cell to make in 14. We had to almost lie on top one another. Every protocol regarding Covid 19 and social distancing was clearly violated. Now I have to wonder if the police actually believe that there is corona virus in Nigeria.
In the morning, we were informed that they DPO will be in around 9am. At some point, some people were allowed to call their folks to inform them where they were. Those that managed to visit the station earlier started negotiating price for the release of their people. This is the third issue I had about this whole process. In the morning, police took a count of 32 people in the cell. Just do the maths when the least person was asked to pay 15,000 naira (curfew violators). It quickly came down to 10,000 naira for those that made an early payment.
For some of us, we were never allowed access to our phones up until 3pm. This is the fourth issue I had with the police. How can they arrest someone and for over 15 hours had not granted the person access to make contact. It's not as though our rights were read to us. No one interrogated us to find out if we had valid pass to be out at night and if we didn't, this is what we were going to face. The officer in charge of the cell that day being Saturday, 9th May - Officer Ishola was only interested in closing deals with those ready to pay.
When it seems as though people were not complying, the police informed us that they were preparing the schedule to move everyone there to Kpanti (prison). This caused a wave of panic in the cell. I tried to calm people down to call in their bluffs. But then, the threat got to a few and they quickly made plans for payment of their 10,000 naira. This is the fifth issue I had.
At about 2pm, the bail money was down to about 5,000 naira with lesser number of people still in cell. At the time my brother in law arrived to post bail. He informed the police i was in cell with my Driver and a friend plus my car that was impounded. The police stated that we were to pay 10,000 naira each plus another 5,000 naira for the car. That is a total of 35,000 naira. After too much negotiation, we paid 20,000 naira.
Back to the matter, the police made at least 200,000 naira in Ejigbo Police Station on the 9th of May 2020 from people arrested for violating curfew. Just one station...... what about other stations. This could have been a huge revenue generation for the country Nigeria were this funds to be properly reported. The Federal Government cannot even pay palliative to Nigerians and here is the police helping themselves out.
This operations happens daily in Nigeria and I believe the DPO of Ejigbo Police Station as well as her officers should be counting in millions by the end of this quarantine period. Its funny that the police did not even collect our data. They only took our names and came to ask for age when they were bluffing about moving us to Kpanti. They don't have my address or phone number or any other detail they can use to identify any of us. They can not even verify if we gave them actual names.
In summary, I picked out some of these issues as
1. Police brutality
2. Endangerment of lives to Covid 19
4. Violation of human rights
5. Obtaining by false pretence
6. Neglect of core duties
Kindly review and revert if you require more information. I have gone into self isolation after my release for fear of being exposed to Covid 19.
I do not have the name of the DPO but I got the names of some of the officers though it's not the full names.
1. The male officer in charge of the counter last Saturday was Ishola
2. There was another female officer on the counter that same Saturday named Elemi
3. The person that collected my bail money is Acho with phone number 09023667373
4. One of the officers that booked people into the cell on Friday night works with LNSC (Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps) and is named Yusuf.
That is the much I can remember