I joined the protest to #endsars because I was a victim of their brutality!
I am glad they have finally been disbanded but this is my story!
I am not even a youth, well, I won’t classify myself as a youth and yet; I was bundled by SARS one Friday evening while walking on Ikorodu road; I would have slept in police cell for doing absolutely nothing but walking on the road on an errand.
I am well over 6’7 in height, maybe that was what attracted SARS to me; they may have seen my height as a threat, I don’t know. I was running an errand for my boss to the mall at Maryland just on Ikorodu road.
My boss wanted me to buy him a bag he’d seen earlier and he gave me his ATM card, just in case the cash he gave me wouldn’t suffice.
I was walking along the road and had almost got to the Mall, Maryland mall,.when I heard so much commotion behind me; feet running, and…I looked, behold there were some SARS in a Danfo, they were shouting at me to enter the bus!
A few other passersby had sighted them and ran off, knowing they were probably in the habit of plucking people off the streets and zooming off with them.
I was at first confused; why should I enter a bus when I wasn’t going anywhere? So like your typical Lagosian, I wanted to run, I was trotting faster, ready to ‘pick race’ when one of them jumped off the bus and chased after me.
I mean, at first, I assumed they just couldn’t be talking to me but they were, they called me to enter the bus or they would open fire!
I was scared!
Why would they open fire at me? I hadn’t done anything, I was running an errand, what was my offence?
Before I could decide what to do, one of the officer who had jumped out of the danfo bus grabbed me and roughly pushed me into the bus! It was still daylight!
What raced through my mind was, so this is how people just get captured on the street and taken away?
I had heard so many sad stories and read so many but I just never thought it could happen to me!
I began to plead with them that I was an innocent passerby, I was running an errand but my pleas fell on deaf ears as one of the officers with blood shot eyes looked me straight in the eye and demanded to have the tramadol on me.
Tramadol? Me? Where is that coming from?
I repeated over and over again that I didn’t have any Tramadol on me and that I had never even taken Tramadol ever before!
I was just running an errand. I pleaded with them to let me call my boss so at least he knew where I was. They refused, barking orders at me and threatening to push me off the moving bus and shooting me, claiming I was a convict trying to escape!
That was when my senses came to me; I became gentle.
I am a married man with three children!
I am in my mid-forties, I look nothing like a yahoo, yahoo; besides, how do you even know a yahoo, yahoo boy?
In the bus were also an assortment of young men; there was one boy wearing dreads, one of the officers was just slapping him for fun!
Oh yes, they boy kept crying out, “what did I do? What is my offence? What did I do to you?”
They didn’t listen but kept slapping him.
I told the boy to keep quiet, “They will kill you; just keep quiet.”
There was another young man, he had a laptop bag on him; they told him he was a fraudster, a 419er. They boy kept saying, “No, I am just coming from work. I am not yahoo yahoo!”
They were barking orders so much that we didn’t even know who’s order to follow. There were five SARS in the bus, the driver included!
The officers were burly; they were reeking of alcohol! One sat on the front row; the second middle row, one was on the back row, the fourth was by the door, then of course, the driver! There was no escaping anyone of them!
And it was just about 5.30 to 6pm that day. They forcefully picked up one or two other boys as we drove past Maryland, I had no idea where they were taking us to; I kept hoping that I would be able to call my boss who would come bail me because I was just so confused and angry and afraid. What if they didn’t take us to the police station, instead killed us and claimed we were robbers fleeing? Or haven’t you heard of such cases?
I began to beg them again when I saw that they were a bit calm; they had stopped hitting the boy with dreadlocks.
They asked me to show them what I had in my pocket; I produced the ATM and the cash I had; they said I must have stolen it! I begged them and showed them my driver’s license and my national identity card. Then, they then told me to get out of the bus…they told me to jump off! I swear!
I attempted to, thinking the driver would slow down, he didn’t; thankfully, there was a bit of traffic ahead; that’s when, I immediately seized that chance to leap off as they headed towards Mobolaji Bank Anthony road.
I don’t know what happened to the rest of the boys they picked up!
I know they would be worse off; they being young and all.
So, yes I joined the protest to end SARS! They are no good! They prey on young Nigerian boys, they should pack their load and go!
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)