A Clear Case Of Extortion

My blood sister called the police because I broke her mirror, which was worth only N350. My father gave her N10,000 so that she could replace it. But because she wanted to prove to me that she was very close to the police and could get me punished, she still called the police and I was invited to their station. When I got there, the policemen did not even allow me to explain what happened or write a statement before they locked me up in a dirty cell for seven hours.

I protested against this to no avail. They later brought me out from the cell but it has become absolutely impossible for me to see the police institution as a saviour for the common man.

The slogan “bail is free” should be removed from police stations nationwide. I sympathise with the school of thought which believes that the most corrupt institution in Nigeria is the police. My personal encounter with the police at Makinde Police Station, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos on February 8, 2008 is a case study.

When I finally had the chance to write a statement, I told them I was unfairly treated. But they cited a law to the effect that they had the power to detain me without taking my statement so long as it was still within 24 hours.

My elder brother and a cousin came to secure my bail and asked to settle the matter at home since it was a family affair. It was then they wanted to blow the issue out of proportion. They started telling my sister to press for charges. They also requested for N10,000 from my family before they would grant me bail. It was already getting to 10 pm, so my family eventually succumbed by parting with N3,000.

I am writing this piece to let Nigerians know the amount of lawlessness and injustice perpertrated by men in police uniform. I don’t need any apology from the police because thousands of Nigerians also experience what I went through. I am advocating for better qualified police personnel who would improve the image of the force.

Segun Ajayi,

Isolo, Lagos.

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