It was midday in Akure. The city bustled with commercial traders going about their businesses. Vehicles moving to various destinations. School children marching down the roadway in already rough uniforms.
Nobody noticed the black Sedan Jeep following Barrister Paul. Nobody saw the Jeep take the same turn that the Barrister took to get to his house. No one even noticed the driver of the Jeep when he slowly crept out of the car and stealthily entered into the Barrister’s compound, following him.
The house was empty so nobody heard the grunts coming from the Barrister who was struggling with his enemy. Of course, he knew who he was. The driver of the Sedan Jeep is an officer of the law who is being arraigned in court for unjust practices. Barrister Paul had refused to accept the bribe offered and stood defiantly on his case. He already feared something bad might happen to him. What he didn’t know was that it would be a bullet in his head.
His wife would return from the office with his kids to find daddy sprawled on the floor, blood gushing everywhere, splatters of his brain out.
She was 15. He was 17. He was her mother’s sister only child. She wanted to get something down the road that evening so he escorted her. Close to the shop where the goods she wanted to get were sold, they got stopped by these men in uniforms.
“Where una dey go?” They barked, pointing their bright torchlight to their faces. It wasn’t even that dark for them not to see.
“We just want to get something, sir,” they said, scared to death.
” Which thing? At this ungodly hour of the day? Abi you dey do ashewo work. And this small boy, see the hairstyle on his head. You must be doing illegal stuff”
“No sir. We’re still students in school sir. Nobody is doing any illegal stuff” The two of them pleaded with their voices trembling.
All their explanations fell on deaf ears. None of their appeals were heard. They weren’t even granted access to call their parents.
Soon, these men were bundling the 17 years old fresh out of high school boy, into their vehicle taking him to their station while the girl was taken to a nearby bush to be sexually assaulted, punished for her sins of walking freely.
‘Help me oh!!! The cries were coming from a woman, running bare-chested on the street. Tears falling down her cheeks. Hands gripping and pulling out her neatly braided hair.
Was she mad? The neighborhood thought.
“Help me oh. They have taken my son. They have carried him away.”
The people-watching tried to calm her down. But she wasn’t having it. Instead, she spread out on the muddy pathway. Rolling from end to end.
“Ify my child would never hurt a fly” She cried out to nobody in particular.
“He cannot even properly kill a chicken. But they say he’s a criminal because of the big phone in his hands” Onlookers stopped, listening to the wails of a sad mother.
“They said he’s a fraudster only because of the way he dressed. Nobody saw any weapon with him! They didn’t even find a gun with him! Yet, they beat him up and take him to their prison.”
“I’ve searched around all the police stations in this city, but he’s nowhere to be found. They have killed my son ohhh. They have killed him for me” She kept wailing.
4 years and a few months later, this woman kept groaning, except it was only in the corners of her house and there was still no trace of her son, Ifeanyi.
Mary had always heard gory stories of what it feels like to be in prison. She had never met an ex-convict, so these stories were from people whose imaginative prowess wields emotions. That night, she sat on the floor of a cold and dark room filled with the stench of urine. Several odors wafted through her nose, she could almost throw up. Have these people seating close to her even had a shower?
“Hey you, wetin you do?”(what did you do) A thick, almost masculine voice shouted at the extreme of the room.
“What is your offense?” How can a woman’s voice be this thick? Mary thought.
She drew in a long breath and said “I went for a protest”
“A protest? You fight?” The woman asked again. Seemed to Mary like she was the gang leader of her cell.
“No ma’am. I didn’t”
“I did not and will never kill anyone”
“You break bottle for head?”
“Okay na. In that case, welcome home.” The thick woman said, sounding like a tout.
What home is she referring to? She was only detained here. She knew she would get out of here in no time. Hell! She did nothing wrong.
Just then a finger poked her ribs and Mary turned to see a young, slim woman.
“I went for a protest like you too. For my school in the North. It’s been 2 years now and I’m still awaiting trial”
“Whatttt?? 2 freaking years!!?” Mary screamed.
“They said I instigated the protest that brought pandemonium when it was the Police who didn’t understand the meaning of a peaceful protest and started shooting when they got intimidated.” The woman continued.
“If you believe in anyone who isn’t human, if you believe in God, start praying now. Cause once you’re in their grip, the law can do little to save you” The woman turned away and rested her head on a slate.
Mary sighed. She searched for words but found none. She shut her eyes, trying to see if this was all a dream but opened them to find people staring back at her.
“Dear Lord, please” She finally mumbled.
These short stories might be fictional but it is very realistic.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created by the Nigerian government to guide the citizens of this country from armed robbers and to eradicate armed robbery in our environment. Over the years, these people have clearly shown to us who the real robbers are. They profile youths with nice cars, iPhones, and youths with designer clothing ( How low!)assaulting, harassing, and exploiting them.
This government squad has now been changed to Special Weapons And Tactics(SWAT)
Our people in Nigeria are being killed, punished, raped, assaulted by the ones meant to protect us. Many Nigerians have experienced several terrible encounters with these people than armed robbers.
On October 8, Nationwide protests began in full swing. Our youths are coming out and saying enough is enough.
But what do we get?
Shootings. Teargas by the police. Unlawful detainment of peaceful protesters. Harassment and so many unspeakable things.
Jimoh Isaiq died after he was shot by the police. His crime? He was watching people protest from a distance.
Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo died, hands in his pocket. Not to draw out a rifle. He was shot because he was only looking.
16-year-old Tina was standing by the road when a trigger-happy policeman’s bullet stray hit her. She didn’t survive.
This could be me tomorrow. This could be you. If we don’t speak up to end this menace in our country, I tell you, lives will be in serious danger.
The youths of this land are protesting, day and night. We’re raising up our lost-but-now-found voices. We’re on our kneels interceding for the peace of this country. People are providing funds and sourcing for things. I can never be more proud to be a Nigerian at this moment!!
To join this movement, please search for the following hashtags on Twitter #ENDSWATNOW #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY. Please lend your voice. If you can’t go out to protest, please tweet and retweet continuously.
Do not forget to pray, our victory comes from God.
Tell others, our parents, friends, relatives, share it with our foreign friends. Share this news on all social media platforms. If you have the sources, please send funds. This fight isn’t for the youths alone, it’s for everyone.
We are tired of accepting this tyranny.
We’re tired of watching with folded arms.
Now we speak up! Now we demand our rights!
This Win Is Ours.
#ENDSARSNOW. #ENDSWATNOW. #