We won’t stop the protests until something concrete happens!
My sister’s story is a story we had been banned from sharing; yes we share that she was a victim of police brutality, but we never share the part that she was raped by police!
It is a story we have not been able to share because for a long time, she begged us not to tell anyone. Why? She was ashamed of letting people know what really happened to her on the road.
My sister was coming to visit me from Benin; she said they were stopped on the road by the police; you know, the check points. She said when they got past Ore, their bus developed a fault so that they had to remove the load in the bus to fix the problem, which she said had to do with tyres!
With their load on the side of the road, they became easy target for police who were in their van heading somewhere else, God knows where.
Police saw them by the side of the road, reversed and instead of offering assistance began to demand to see what was in their luggage!
My sister said she and a number of the other passengers refused because the police had no right to do so. They were arguing with police and fighting when more of the police came by and forcefully arrested some of the passengers, claiming they were smugglers.
When the boys refused to enter their van, there was a scuffle and gunshots rang out! Before they knew what was going on, the police told them the next set of bullets would be on the passengers who resisted arrest!
This was after they descended on the guys who they felt were insulting them…there was blood. They arrested my sister along with two of the boys and drove away to a secluded part of the express road. That was where they dragged my sister into the bush and raped her!
She said there were three of them who raped her even though five of them were involved in the arrest .
My sister said, they told her she was not behaving like a woman but like a prostitute and they would have liked to teach her more sense! When they finished, they took their phones as ‘evidence’ and collected money from them and then told them to go back to their vehicle!
She was crying and cursing them so they beat her on top of the rape!
It was the other guys and passengers who helped my sister get her things together because they had ransacked their luggage and scattered their stuff all over the express. The bus was fixed and they continued their journey to Lagos.
Now, even though it’s been years that this happened, almost 5 years now, we have not been able to get justice for my sister! She has been too ashamed to come out and tell her story but she is now part of the ongoing protests!
Has my sister got through this?
How can one get through this trauma?
My sister is just one more voice that had been muffled over the years! There are many more who are also in this protest because of a pain they can’t even reveal! Since we started, I have heard too many painful experiences suffered by innocent people in the hands of our police.
So you see, we cant’s stop now that our voices are ringing out loud!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)