Our experiences with SARS —Victims

In the past few weeks, a social uprising with the hashtag, #EndSars has been going on across states in Nigeria. The protests started after operatives of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) killed a citizen in Ughelli, Delta State and made away with his car.

Several Nigerians have complained of improper behaviour from the men and women of the Nigeria Police Force. On this week’s edition of WhatsApp Conversation, respondents gave their experiences with the men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other forms of police brutality:

 

Agbelusi Damilola

On my way going back to school from Ibadan to Zaria, at some point during our journey we met 5 SARS officials working on the road. The officials stopped our car and asked the driver to come out and open the door. When the driver opened the door, I was asleep, one of the Police officers asked a woman sitting beside me to wake me up. When she did, the Policemen asked only me to come out. They started asking me questions like where am I from and where am I going? What is my job? I gave them the answers they needed to hear. But then these people asked for my phone. I gave them. They checked my phone but then they saw a picture of Ariana Grande. They were like “who is that? She is your client”? I was so confused they don’t know her. Then I told them she was a celebrity; these people didn’t believe me. They told me to get inside their car! In the end, I had to pay N5,000 to regain my freedom.

 

Lanre Lanlehin

It started with questions about what I did for a living. I said I was a tailor, then he started searching me, and luckily, nothing was found on me; just my tape rule and some money. He started interrogating me on my dress code. I fielded a lot of unnecessary questions before they allowed us to go. Meanwhile, my laptop was with the bike man who carried it, which even saved a lot of time. If they had seen that, they would have held that I was an internet fraudster.

 

Sanwiyu Abolanle

It was November 2017 when I found myself in a big mess from the SARS of Imagbon, Abeokuta where I was arrested for a murder case I knew nothing about. But thank God for sparing my life because there was a lot of killing during the time. I was detained and locked up in a cell for a month and 17 days before the truth came out and I was bailed, but other people were charged to court and they were remanded in prison custody till date. I feel bad because we have almost 300 people locked up there and some of them are innocent of the cases they accused them of.

 

Emmanuel Mavididi

SARS officials intercepted us while on our way to visit a few friends, and they accused us of being criminals. Afterward, they interrogated us seriously and asked us to send money or else they would take us to the station. We only sent them the money out of fear.

 

Venmark Agboola

I was picked up in front of a bank in Ondo State, alongside my friend. They searched my phone and since it was my first experience with them, I stood my ground knowing that I had nothing incriminating on me. They took me home and ransacked everywhere. We were taken back to the station and they confiscated my devices. The whole day, we were in the station and they returned around 7 pm. They were asking if we were internet fraudsters. For every ‘no’ he got, I received a dirty slap and that went on for around 25 minutes. Eventually, we reached out to someone in the Student Union of the Federal University of Technology, Akure. In the end, they said that we were treated inhumanely because we did not cooperate with them. We eventually paid N10,000 to have access to our devices.

 

Linda Ejiofor

My boyfriend and I were waiting for his brother at Stadium Road, Surulere on a weekday after work around 7:30 pm in his car. We got carried away kissing (nothing more than that) and the SARS came and started banging the door with guns and torchlight. Thank God he quickly called his brother in case anything happened, because we were not sure who they were at first. We came down and they got into the driver’s side while he was with them. They took me in their small yellow bus and started calling me ashawo and so on. We got to the station at the Stadium Bus Stop. The man who was interrogating me told me to write a statement. As I wrote he said, he would dictate what I’ll write and I should comply or he’ll slap me. They demanded for N200,000 in the end, we paid N50,000 because that was all we had.

 

The question for next week is “Why do boys like girls younger than them”? Be a part by sending your experience to 0813660135 on WhatsApp.

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