"...When the real enemies that we have are up there and they are the ones stealing our money. So, you can see that in front of the Nigerian people today, they won't even mind to arrest me for having boldness to talk..." 

As heard in the viral clip, this were my last words before I fell into the cold but hard grip of fierce-looking operatives of Department of State Security (DSS) who acted on the instructions of the Nigerian government to arrest  others and I, who were  protesters at Osogbo on the 5th of August during the #RevolutionNow protest. Interestingly, the point I was buttressing before my arrest was that the real enemies of the Nigerian state are not the security officers, but those who sent them such errands, while they sit back in their offices and steal away the commonwealth of the Nigerian state. Little did I know that the next 31 hours would give me a vivid insight into how Nigerian citizens are not the only victims of systemic corruption and oppression, but how the security apparatuses are also at the receiving end of a backward state.

In a speedy van driven and guarded by armed men with masked faces, we were driven into the DSS facility in Osogbo at exactly 11:52am. On getting to the facility, we were stripped of all items including wristwatch and an eyeglass (recommended) because of the palpable fear of hidden cameras. After all our items were collected, we were transferred to an office apparently used for administrative purposes. Sitting on the floor with our faces to the wall, two officers monitored us at distance with guns. 

At about, 3:20 pm, we were called upon to fill a statement form provided by the officers. Still yet to be told what exactly our offences were, the officers kept on hammering their mission to break our spirits for having such audacity in Nigeria. On one hand, the officers tried to argue their actions were within the confines of the constitution, on another hand, they couldn't hide their disregard for the rule of law.

My first confirmation of that was when I requested a legal counsel for filling of the statement form because I was under duress. Just as a female officer tried convincing me that I was not under duress because the officers were calm. An officer with uniform code " COBC 29/2016" immediately flung up from his seat and gas-lighted. He threatened to brutalize and maim me if I insisted on getting a counsel, accusing me of taking their calmness for granted.

While at that, he immediately transferred me to the Torture Room (Room 25). In the torture room, He placed a call to another officer whom he described as the most-dreaded torture officer, codenamed "Ika". In Yoruba interpretation, "Wicked". Rather unfortunately, the officer wasn't available. I was eventually coerced into filling the form after several threats on my life, with a gun in his hands. In his words; "my boss would even commend me if you die in my hands' '.

Upon completion of the statement form, at exactly 6:15pm, four of us were transferred to another room and told we will be granted bail - but with a condition of calling our parents as sureties.

While I pondered silently on what part of the Nigerian constitution or criminal laws stated that parents are the only eligible sureties for administrative bail, I remembered the agency itself is not known for complying with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hence the liberty to act to any degree of lawlessness. Also, I realised the request for our parents was an attempt to wage a  psychological war on us by putting us under parental pressure, since they knew so well that we can never give in to their intimidation. 

All efforts to get our parents to come to the facility that day failed. And at exactly, 7:50pm, we were transferred to the cell rooms. Given the popular narrative, there were no surprises to expect from a Nigerian cell room.

High walls, poor-ventilation, rusted bars were the characteristics of the cell room. Six of us, males, were locked individually in the cell rooms. Though, additions were made later. However, the proximity between the cell rooms made it easy for us to communicate.

In my cell room which was the last on the row, the only provision for sleeping was a carton sheet which was spread on the floor as a make-shift bed. Some hours into the night when I could barely see anything in the dark room, some officers came and asked for our choice of food. However, I had no appetite for their food so i declined the offer, but the officer insisted I must eat compulsorily. Some hours later, which I believe to be around 11pm, they came with a loaf of bread and two sachets of  pure water. 
My resolve not to eat from an untrusted source kept me through the night as I remained in high spirits. The remaining hours of the night was a moment of thorough discussion between us (the cell mates) as we all slept off at intervals. 

However, some hours into the night, we all woke up because we couldn't sleep properly. At that point, I had already developed a breathing difficulty due to my asthmatic condition and exposure to certain irritations. Albeit, my utmost concern remained getting my freedom. The prayers from a nearby mosque made us know the time was exactly 4:45pm and the sound of moving vehicles made us realize it was already daybreak. Some hours before 10am, 3 of us were taken from the cell rooms back to the administrative office. 
There, we were once again told to call our parents, but the officers got infuriated by the report that I refused to eat and promised not to use their inhaler. Upon the instruction of their boss, I was taken back into the cell room at exactly 12:28pm. 

However, some hours later, I was transferred back to the administrative block when my parents arrived. And after a lot of attempts to intimidate them to discourage me from subsequent involvement in struggle, my bail was perfected. And i got released some minutes before 7pm.

However, I cannot but highlight a few mental notes I made during my short stay in the facility.

The Nigerian government fears the people more than the people fears the government. Continuous reference was made to the fact that the protest could snowball into a larger demonstration, if the passersby' joined because most of them are angrier than we are. A notion which i consider right because it takes only the people that steal public funds or benefit from it proceeds to be happy in a country such as Nigeria. 

Even the security agencies are victims of poor funding. One would expect highly-digitised systems to be the hallmark of any intelligence agency. Albeit, ink stamps and paper were being used for fingerprint verification, in place of digital fingerprint scanner.

A time will come when the Nigerian masses will be left with no option on the quest of survival than to come together in unity and upturn this oppressive system that was created for the benefit of a few minority. Then, it will become clear that the anger of the masses is greater than a thousand guns and uniforms. 

On this note, I cannot but express my unreserved appreciation to the Nigerian people and international socilaists who made all efforts to ensure that our release was immediately secured. 

And I cannot fail to mention that, it wasn't the wish of the DSS operatives to release us as at the time they did, but the pressure mounted on them by well-meaning Nigerians. As I write, Olawale Bakare is still in detention and I join millions of Nigerians to call for his release.

Conclusively, this piece will remain incomplete without referencing the wise words of the sage, Gani Fawehinmi; in a battle between conscious power and powerless conscience, the former may seem to win at first, but the latter will always prevail.

Here, I drop my pen with renewed determination to remain committed to the struggle for a better nation. Till then, I remain grateful to the Nigerian masses who threw their weight behind us. You are the true heroes of Nigeria. And we must all remember that the real enemies of Nigeria are not ready to give up, hence, we must be battle-ready never to surrender this banner of freedom.

Dunnex Samuel
(Member, Movement For A Socislist Alternative, MSA).

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