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A Night At A Lagos Police Station - Politics - Nairaland

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A Night At A Lagos Police Station by k10: 6:47am On Sep 26, 2013
The telephone call came in the middle of the night, rousing me rudely from a deep and exciting sleep. I had slept very early the previous day having had a very exhausting afternoon. As a routine, I had ensured that my mobile phones were put in the silent mode. But on the fateful night, I had forgotten to change the tone. So, when the stringent Nokia tune broke the eerie silence of the night, I cursed under my breath. As I fumbled around in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria-induced darkness, I had wondered who could be calling at that ungodly hour. In my drowsy state, I answered the call. Then, I recognised the voice at the other end to be that of a neighbour. He frantically told me he had been arrested by the police for wandering while returning from work.

According to him, he was standing with other commuters at a bus stop when a police patrol truck screeched to halt in front of the bus station. They were standing in an endless wait for a bus. In a flash, gun-totting policemen alighted and ordered them at gun point to enter the back of the truck. Inside, he met other victims of the brutality that has come to define the Nigerian Police. He said that out of fright, some of them attempted to flee. But the police threatened to shoot them. They were all taken to the police station amid pleas of innocence. I had known the young man for over a year. I know him to be a struggling young man who worked as an unskilled hand in a Chinese factory around town. I knew he kept late nights due to the nature of his job. He also worked shifts. This makes him arrive home at odd hours. When the call came, I did not doubt the veracity of his story.

According to him, at the time of their arrest, the policemen also made several arrests along the way. Then, they drove to a secluded area where they stopped their vehicle. Then, they went into a round of negotiation with the suspects. They told those who had money to bail themselves. Those who could afford their charges were quickly left off the hook. One guy with an expensive wrist watch was said to have traded it for his freedom. But other unlucky victims like my neighbour who had only their transport fares were driven, like condemned criminals, to the cell. There, the officers encouraged them to call their relatives. The other option was to be clamped into the dingy cell where they would spend the night until they are bailed the next morning.

By the time he hung up the phone, I had become fully awake and disturbed. Knowing the antecedents of the Nigerian Police, I was worried that the boy could either be shot as an ‘’escapee’’ armed robber or framed up on trumped up charges. Just like many unlucky Nigerians, he might also end up being charged for a crime he knew nothing about and clamped in jail or awaiting trial. I was also upset at this gross violation of an innocent citizen’s right- a clear case of police brutality. The police are known for indiscriminate arrests of people under a so-called wandering law which has been abolished. But some unscrupulous officers in Lagos still engage in the illegal act. This random arrest is widely known as ‘’roger”. They often carry out the arrest in low income areas. Their targets are poor and defenceless citizens who have neither the financial nor social connections to defend their rights. This action, which has been condemned by Nigerians, amounts to the breach of people’s freedom of movement.

That said, I instantly made a decision to go to the police station in spite of the risk involved. First, because it was too late in the day and the fear of being brutalised by renegade officers was real. However, I thought that was the least I could do for this humble and hardworking young man. I roused another neighbour and we both went to the police station together. The scene I met at the station was shocking. Scores of unclad young men and women sat on bare floor speaking frantically on the phone. They were calling their families so as to avoid being hurled into the cell. Another shocker: I overheard policemen offering to help those arrested to buy call cards so they could contact their relatives! One policeman, who seemed to be the one coordinating the show of shame, bellowed at a young man who had all the while been protesting his innocence: “You, this stupid boy, you think na only you fit speak grammar, abi? You go sleep for cell today, mosquito go finish you. Stay there dey blow grammar make you no call your people. You go die for cell”! I observed a young woman making brisk business selling call cards at the gate. Even at that time of the night!

The station was a beehive of activities. As I made my way among the throng of men and women sitting on bare ground even outside the large compound, I spotted a patrol truck screech to a dusty halt at the entrance of the main building. A number of policemen alighted, cigarettes dangled between their lips, and their guns facing the sky. They looked like drunken pirates. Another set of ‘’suspects’’, both young and old were pushed down from the vehicle and forced to join those waiting at the counter. I soon located my neighbour who was visibly relieved having caught sight of me. I told him to calm down as I was determined to push my luck with those brigands called policemen in Lagos who are constantly breaching the fundamental human rights of poor residents. I approached the Investigating Police Officer and asked to see the Divisional Police Officer.

He demanded that I identify myself. I declined, insisting I would only identify myself to the DPO. He became alarmed and went to consult with the Commander of the Patrol that had arrested my neighbour. In Lagos, bravado and self-confidence if properly used with the police could work in your favour. I was told the DPO was not available. I disclosed to them that my neighbour, who was coming back from work, was arrested in error and demanded his release so he could go back home with me. I insisted he’d be released without any charges or I would wait till the DPO returns. The police officer in charge hesitated for a while. He did not know what to make of the situation. He was not sure how connected I was. I thought I saw hesitation in his eyes! Did they panic knowing they could have had the wrong man? Since they could not explain why the young man was arrested. I stuck to my guns and demanded his release.

The officer later backed down

He told me to identify the “suspect” among the lot. I insisted he was not a suspect as he had done nothing wrong. He was released to me without bail even as I observed money exchanging hands between families of those arrested illegally. It was shocking to see these glaring abuses of people’s rights which have become a norm at various police stations across Lagos.

Why would police officers on patrol arrest residents at will even when they have identified themselves as law abiding citizens? How does returning from work constitute an offence of wandering? Why do the police physically abuse innocent people, kicking and slapping them as I observed in the police station that night? My neighbour told me the officers refused to show their identification cards. One drunken officer even threatened to shoot if they continued the protest. I walked away from the station feeling a sense of anger.

With friends like the police, who needs an enemy?

http://www.punchng.com/opinion/a-night-at-a-lagos-police-station/

33 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Gboliwe: 7:06am On Sep 26, 2013
I thought this only happened in my end.

Shame on the Nigerian police.

1 Like

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Realdeals(m): 7:12am On Sep 26, 2013
This act is very common in my area, they even made such arrest as early as 8:00pm.
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by henrychubayo: 7:18am On Sep 26, 2013
What we need now is hiding camera. Its very easy way to catch these bad cops. With Hiding cameras, we could reduce these a bit.

7 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by malele(m): 7:19am On Sep 26, 2013
And people will tell me division won't stop all these madness one sees in nigeria.
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Nobody: 7:50am On Sep 26, 2013
This is the kind of thing that Nigerians (including Nairalanders) should unite to fight against, not to divide - for or against thieving politicians.

2 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Nobody: 7:59am On Sep 26, 2013
Their days are numbered, trust me.
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by sasview: 8:41am On Sep 26, 2013
Mentioning the date, identity of the officers , police station and other details would have been right. This may help in tracking the evil doers should any relevant body want to take up the case.
Some policemen are beast and they will surely meet their waterloo because what you sow is what you reap and no sinner will go un-punish.

3 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Tuntheycr7: 8:53am On Sep 26, 2013
OP na u James Bond your neighbour out of the those yeye criminals in police uniforms. This case is bcomin alarming in Lagos these days.
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by SLIDEwaxie(m): 9:10am On Sep 26, 2013
Gboliwe: I thought this only happened in my end.

Shame on the Nigerian police.
that's is the point!
It happens everywhere!

Is police now a Lagos thing?
We all knw diverse people with diverse ethnicity are being posted to any state by the feds as a police officer!

i dnt get the point of the adjective- Lagos.
This is the Nigerian police. Lagos dnt own a police station, so is any other state.

i biliv we're not trying to say Fashola is the one asking them to extort people?
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Nobody: 9:17am On Sep 26, 2013
What else do you expect from the Nigerian Police?
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by JingoOAU(m): 9:28am On Sep 26, 2013
when i read this story on today's PUNCH NEWSPAPER, i felt appalled that something of this nature can be happening in this 21st century. nevertheless, this is just a credence to the despotic rule going on in Port-Harcourt when the powers-that-be instructed the police to disperse newly appointed teachersd who went to the stadium to collect their letters of appointment.

Nigerian police is now a tool in the hands of the elites. IMO, the Nigerian Police Force should be scrapped or disbanded and new fresh blood should be injected into the force...

1 Like

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by sweettease(f): 9:52am On Sep 26, 2013
^^^am appalled that you felt appalled, it's not right but it happens a lot. When i was in secondary sch i saw a case where they parked somewhere and were arrestn innocent young men that were unfortunate enough to pass there at that time, and they were flinging the ID cards of those who cared to show them into the gutter and pushing them into the police van. The last time this kind of news shocked me was on Dec 24th 2009 when i witnessed a scene where a policeman walked up to a youngman in front of i and my friends and said "you are under arrest" for no just cause, searched him, found nothng but wanted to arrest him all the same, it was the uproar that saved the innocent guy that day, and am sure his colleagues around were doing the same.

News like this causes a sting in my heart but don't catch me by surprise.
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Nobody: 10:18am On Sep 26, 2013
This is what happens in a Jungle-Justice Nation !!!
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Nobody: 11:22am On Sep 26, 2013
sweet-tease:
^^^am appalled that you felt appalled, it's not right but it happens a lot. When i was in secondary sch i saw a case where they parked somewhere and were arrestn innocent young men that were unfortunate enough to pass there at that time, and they were flinging the ID cards of those who cared to show them into the gutter and pushing them into the police van. The last time this kind of news shocked me was on Dec 24th 2009 when i witnessed a scene where a policeman walked up to a youngman in front of i and my friends and said "you are under arrest" for no just cause, searched him, found nothng but wanted to arrest him all the same, it was the uproar that saved the innocent guy that day, and am sure his colleagues around were doing the same.

News like this causes a sting in my heart but don't catch me by surprise.

grin grin grin [size=13pt] So, you are shocked and disappointed cos the writer felt the same way and not cos of the attitude of the Nigeria policemen.

Nairalanders, una no go kill person ooo... grin grin grin[/size]
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Gboliwe: 12:52pm On Sep 26, 2013
SLIDE waxie: that's is the point!
It happens everywhere!

Is police now a Lagos thing?
We all knw diverse people with diverse ethnicity are being posted to any state by the feds as a police officer!

i dnt get the point of the adjective- Lagos.
This is the Nigerian police. Lagos dnt own a police station, so is any other state.

i biliv we're not trying to say Fashola is the one asking them to extort people?
He narrated an event that happened in Lagos, should he have said it happened in Taraba or Rivers state? ibeg, don't come and stir a tribal war here.

4 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by doctokwus: 1:21pm On Sep 26, 2013
Ill-bred,ill-trained,poorly educated,drunken,intoxicated,corrupt armed force.What do u expect wen such a force operates under d law?
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Fazhy: 1:22pm On Sep 26, 2013
angry

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Ayomax(m): 1:23pm On Sep 26, 2013
same thing happened to me. 4yrs ago, i went to deposit some money inside the bank around 12pm ooo, neva knew policemen were waitin 4 me. dey blocked me with their bus n asked me to identify myself which i did n i showed them school ID, tht was not enough 4 them, those id!ot took my phn frm me n searched 2ru my phn contract unlucky 4 me, they saw 2 international numbers, they used it to pin me down tht i am a yahoo boi n i must follow them to the station,dey ordered me at gun point to enter the bus, i saw 5 innocent nigerians inside the bus already with their sad faces, those policemen also made several arrests along the way.. dey took us to AREA G (Ogba) this was around 1pm i tried fighting 4 my right until i received one very HOT slap 4rm one of them, dey forced me to remove my cloth n stay under the sun for fighting 4 my right. i stayed there till 5pm when i called my mum to bail me out she curse the money before given out the money.(4 my mind i dey pray make no police man hear as she dey curse da money or else na me n my mum go both stay under the sun grin)

1 Like

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Nobody: 1:23pm On Sep 26, 2013
@OP,

We cant just be talking and talking, then expect things to change, we need to take actions; i challenge you to give information on the address of the police station where this injustice is taking place, or pm the details to me, I may be able to do something if the police station is in lagos.

7 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by OkikiOluwa1(m): 1:26pm On Sep 26, 2013
Brb.
Last Bullet:

I no fit comment now.
Right now, my head dey hot, my belle dey wire, my eye dey do koi koi, e be like say na 1 litre of blood reamain for my body. Before I faint ontop the Op's bed, make I rush to Iya Basira's Canteen to download 16wraps of fufu, ogufe N1500, 1 gallon of cold water & 3wraps of maryJ. I for take up to 6wraps but I no wan do drug abuse or use over dose before my head dey spark. Infact, wait I dey come!

1 Like

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Gracydee(f): 1:29pm On Sep 26, 2013
Nigerian police is nothing to write home about. They are just a bunch of useless pple.

Personally I hate anybody wearing that uniform with a passion I can't explain. Infact, I find it very hard to have a little sympathetic feeling when anything bad happens to any of them (including all other law enforcement agencies sef) and at such times I feel I am kinda stonehearted but sincerely no matter how much I try, I don't have any pity for them. Imagine them just arresting people off the road after a hard day's work just to quench their selfish thirst for money.

Only God can help us in this country but this people should know that there's something called Nemesis and that the government is bad, government is not treating us well is not an excuse before God to do bad things.

5 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by kstyle2(m): 1:29pm On Sep 26, 2013
Boy! I do not envy whoeva has 2 marry a policeman or woman...those folks r cursed...dis is criously sickning....dis country wil b way beta if we do nt hav a police force anymore
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by newgroom: 1:31pm On Sep 26, 2013
Even though this is a common happenstance in Lagos, Nigeria, I can swear on top of Seun's girlfriend that this is entirely fictional, a superstory!
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by moscobabs(m): 1:32pm On Sep 26, 2013
no wonder my grandfather curse any of his future generations that's police
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by horlabiyi(m): 1:33pm On Sep 26, 2013
Nigeria na the country wey u go fear thief pass police
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by otaelo: 1:34pm On Sep 26, 2013
it is a nice narrative though pure fiction. i dont think it contains any iota of truth. all the characters mentioned are ghosts, the location unknown, and the time of occurrence not stated.

1 Like

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Princeparix(m): 1:35pm On Sep 26, 2013
SLIDE waxie: that's is the point!
It happens everywhere!

Is police now a Lagos thing?
We all knw diverse people with diverse ethnicity are being posted to any state by the feds as a police officer!

i dnt get the point of the adjective- Lagos.
This is the Nigerian police. Lagos dnt own a police station, so is any other state.

i biliv we're not trying to say Fashola is the one asking them to extort people?
ur seeing dis stuff 4rm d pessimistic side of view bro. Did anyone blame Lagos as a state or fashola as a governor?
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by jennyo: 1:35pm On Sep 26, 2013
Same policemen that will see thieves and flee. They can harass only those that can not defend their selves .Can they try this in the north.
Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by 01emek(m): 1:35pm On Sep 26, 2013
Really?

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by Okijajuju1(m): 1:37pm On Sep 26, 2013
Well since this happens alot.. My advise is for people to get smart.. Start covertly getting names of the officers arresting you, get the plate number of the patrol car, get the name and location of the station and call a lawyer..

If you can safely record the incident (emphasis on safely), do so and use it as evidence.

The police is not above the law.. Because people fold their arms and do nothing but rather pay the 'bail' or more like bribe (cos the police does not have the power to set or grant bail), thats why tonight, somewhere in Nigeria, another innocent Nigerian would face this exact situation..

4 Likes

Re: A Night At A Lagos Police Station by stexsy(m): 1:37pm On Sep 26, 2013
i just hate those guys wit passion..

2 Likes

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