Yubedee Pyamene Anokari
Imagine stepping out of your house, kissing your wife and child — a toddler, goodbye, just before leaving for work, only to never return home again, forever. Never getting to see their faces anymore. Never getting to kiss your wife again, never getting to savour the hearty and loving smile of your baby, you weren’t even given the chance to be a proper father to. How terrible life could be?
That was the story of Femi, a regular Nigerian, a family man just newly wedded. We complain of police brutality each day, the ruins it put families in. The inhumane torture they put harmless and innocent people through; the hardship and emotional distress their victims are left to suffer.
To this point, I never believe the police is my friend. If they were, what then would have possibly triggered the inhumane treatment meted to Femi? He wasn’t a criminal, his car wasn’t a stolen one. Just a regular Nigerian with an honest job, given a warm embrace by the cold hands of death, thanks to some monsters in uniform.
“Officer I am late for work, please let me go”, that was the last sentence he would ever make. Beaten and brutalised like a serial killer who was finally caught, Femi was scarely conscious, his sky-blue shirt and ankara tie, totally soaked with his own blood. What crime particularly did he commit to deserve such a death?
When I was much younger, my mom once told me never to get involved with the police, not to have anything to do with them. I thought she was just being biased and prejudiced, because then, the TV commercial always said something different – the police is your friend, bail is free and any other lies they tell just to snare their victims into the vicious trap.
It is on record that half the number of people who go to report a crime at the police station are actually detained for the same crime they had gone to report. Trust in the police system is broken, and I don’t even think that sufficiently describes the situation; ‘shattered and dissipated’, would be more appropriate. What will become of his family? What will his wife do? Imagine losing your father at a very tender age, the trauma and imbalance; all these means nothing to these murderers in uniform. All they care about are their pockets, legally looting poor civilians and motorists each day of their monies which they had laboriously and tirelessly worked for all day long.
Who will bail the cat, who will set Nigerians free from these blood-thirsty lunatics? Citizens are told and encouraged never to carry out jungle-justice but to report all crimes to the Death Enforcement Agencies; oh! Sorry, I mean Law Enforcement Agencies – but what law do these evils in uniform enforce anyway? In what article or section in the Nigerian constitution does it state that a police officer has the express right to shoot a civilian in cold blood over 50naira? Yet these death-mongers do this without fear or fervor, with such reckless abandon, that will send shivers to your bones.
Whatever happened to a peaceful arrest and court trials? These people carry out the very jungle-justice they preach so strongly against, forgetting the test of a man’s values are in what he does and not what he says. That was how Ojo was gruesomely murdered for allegedly dealing in drugs – beaten at his home like a common criminal, in front of his mom, blood gushing out of his head, nose and mouth; pushed into the van almost unconscious, and that he was the end of Ojo. Such gruesome murder, all for what? For allegedly doing drugs? Whatever happened to a peaceful arrest, detention and trial. All these are the fallacies they sell to us daily through the TV and radio.
Now Ojo’s mom is left to forever remember how her son was beaten to death before her very own eyes, and she could do nothing about it, such trauma.
These are only but two cases, out of a thousand more which happens every other day across the country. Reporting these cases is only but a fool’s errand because, nothing substantial is ever done. These murderers cover their tracks, justifying their actions by planting evidences in the crime scenes, telling the media it was in self defence or he resisted arrest, he tried to escape and whatever lies they come up with just to evade the law which never pushes anyway.
What can Femi’s wife do to seek justice for her late husband, she was forced to be a single mom at a very young age. Who will stand up for the poor widow who watched her only son brutally murdered by supposed law enforcement officers.
What can anyone do against a system set up to harass and murder the poor masses whilst protecting the criminals with bags of money.
I once heard a police officer shouting at a taxi driver, and during the ranting, he said “I will shoot you here and nothing will happen”. I felt a strange numbness in my body at that moment. What gave this man such confidence and boldness to say such to a poor Nigerian who’s just trying to make ends meet, so he can at least feed his family and send his children to a government school?
Sadly, this is the case of millions of Nigerians out there, who get harassed, beaten, maimed and most times, killed by the very persons who were supposed to protect them. And I believe the police officer was right, nothing will happen, nothing ever happens – all the protests, social media ranting, letters and appeals, nothing ever happens! Justice is never properly served to Nigerians.
So to the rest of us out there, I’ll tell you what my mom told me – as much as you can, never have anything to do with the police. So the next time you see a police van coming, walk the other way, for they might just shoot you and nothing will happen.
Yubedee Pyamene Anokari, is a contributor on the blog, an amazing content writer and entrepreneur. Currently a student of environmental studies at the University of Port Harcourt, an SDG advocate, passionate about personal growth and development.