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Monday, 7 November 2016

How Nigerian Police Officers Connive With Suspects To "Kill" Cases of Crime: My Personal Experience With Osun State Police Command

This world has changed completely into an odd place where criminals walk freely away after committing some of the most egregious crimes because they are rich or have status, whereas victims get punished for being poor and lacking in status.
Nike Ajetomobi & Hafeez Alawode

This would not be worrisome if it were in a lawless society, but in the case I am about to share, the law is being subverted to suit the interest of the wealthy and powerful, and the Nigeria Police Force is the broker of this subversion, this calls for concern.

I never knew police officers are such great brazen partakers when it comes to corruption, although I had heard several stories it was not until I had a personal encounter with them in this case where I was subjected to severe physical abuse by a man who later used his status as an armed forces personnel to humiliate me further after I reported at a police station.

A Nigerian Airforce officer, Alawode Hafeez was a friend whose ways were unacceptably rough, and I had eventually had to reduce and even stopped any form of contacts with him due to his intolerably immoral lifestyle, I'd let go of any kind of friendship, but then he decided to "punish" me for merely making a choice to part ways with him.

Although I had turned down his repeated requests and every craft he devised to obtain numbers of my female friends including that of my cousin for his lustful escapades, he never gave up; I had thought we had gone past that until he showed up one-day feigning gentlemanliness and asked to borrow my phone. While the request was suspicious because I knew he had two phones, each of which was more expensive than mine, I reluctantly let him use my phone because he lied to me that his phone was faulty and urgently needed to use a phone. It is not his use of my phone that was the issue, but for whatever reasons, he returned the phone to me all reformatted -everything wiped off; I mean my contacts, files, and all records were gone. Nothing left!

I protested.

But that was not acceptable to him.  On  May 29, 2016, he assembled his friends to pounce on me and with him directing and directly participating, they tortured me so much that I barely survived. I had injuries and was in pains. While the torture lasted, they gave a false impression to the sympathizing public who had gathered to watch and intervene that I was being taken to a hospital for treatment. But I found myself in their house, bound. They pointed a gun at my head, threatening to terminate my life if I try to keep talking about the past abuse and present torture. I writhed in severe pain, and it was such a situation anyone in that situation would prefer death.

I pretended to agree with them, and they released me half-dead.

After escaping that day, I went to report at the Moore Police Station in Ife, Osun State, but no action was taken until someone who felt deeply touched by my ordeal decided to blog about it.
After blogging it, Hafeez's parents came out blazing with serious threats. They wanted the story removed from the Internet. They contacted my mother after I was unyielding, pleaded with her and when that still won't accept, they brought a policewoman to arrest me in Ife.

That was when I began to see things differently with the Nigerian Police Force. On the first day of my detention, I saw a Nigeria police officer acting very nicely to me. He is the Divisional Crime Officer and had claimed I was mentally ill. I was there at the station alone with Hafeez,  and his retired Brigadier General father, his wife, his son's friends, and two other officers. I asked to invite my lawyer, but they refused. Their mission became apparent as they all began to plead with me, they wanted the matter dropped. It was a cocktail of strategies, including appeal mixed with subtle threats. I was told right there that I couldn't make a case against a military officer. They offered N30,000 to me, but I rejected it. I couldn't see how that would do justice to the near-death assault I got from Hafeez ad his friends.

Hafeez's father gave the money to the police officer right in my presence so that they would continue to pressure me to accept it and was about leaving when the policemen bought orange juice to entertain the Brigadier-General and his entourage, I was shocked at their hospitality towards my abusers , I had wrongly thought we were here for a serious case, but here I was being shown that the status of Hafeez's was more important to the police than my right to life.

Shortly afterward,  the police engaged my father who visited their station after I had left without accepting the money. They told him lies and cajoled him to write a  letter withdrawing the case on my behalf. After he had written the letter of withdrawal he was offered the money I had rejected and he became confused. He called me about it, and I told him they lied to him. I had not asked him to write any letter on my behalf. He too rejected the money, but they didn't let him withdraw the letter he was cajoled to write. They threatened to lock him up for attempting to withdraw his statement. He left the police station disappointed but did not accept the money, knowing it was meant to bribe him into silence.

It was at his point I contacted the blogger again to narrate how things were going and the evolving drama with the police. Then Hafeez's family intensified their threats. Hafeez's wife was the first to come after me. She wrote that I was stalking her husband and also cooked up fake text messages on her phone, which she showed around. Since I noticed they had compromised the police at the station where it was reported, I requested the matter be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department. They made it look like an expensive task to transfer the matter to State CID, so I agreed to pay for the transportation of the Investigating Police Officer and myself to Osogbo. Hafeez was invited there also, and he came with an elderly man. Both of them started begging me all over again; then the police officers also joined them to ask me to let the case go. Wonders shall never end!

When this matter was reported to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Olufemi Oyeleye, I recall he didn't bother about any investigation. He had instead passed a judgment dismissively claiming I was jobless to be pursuing the case. He looked straight and said to my face; "You have time for jobless things." I was amazed that a matter of grievous torture, abduction, and threat with a gun pointed at my head would be casually dismissed as "jobless things." And that such comment even came from a Police Commissioner made it more worrisome. But I also understood that the accused person's status and money could have played a major role in his outburst.

But I insisted I wanted justice. The police officer in charge at the State CID asked us to come back. Hafeez was asked to choose a date convenient for him. He elected to come on August 29th, but he never showed up nor gave a reason for not showing up on the appointed date.

I moved on and reported the case to the  Police Complaint Response Unit (CRU), and I started relentlessly calling them. I was eventually told that the Commissioner said he had tried settling the matter. They also told me the commissioner reported that my abuser said he was a soldier fighting Boko Haram and therefore should not be disturbed. They advised I either go and lodge my complaint at the Air Force Base in Abuja or head to a court of law. I told them I am only a student and had done what was I considered the best as a poor student by reporting to the police. When I later learned there was now a new Police Commissioner in posted to Osun State, I went there again to try seeing him on the matter, but I was not allowed to go in. They said I "can't just see a Commissioner just like that."

Again, I visited the Police Station where it was earlier reported, and I was confronted with more bizarre episodes of police corruption. While I waited to be attended to; I witnessed the "management" of some students brought in from what I suspect was a "raid." They were students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).

They students asked to use their phone, but the police officers billed them N700 each to be allowed to use their phones to call whoever would come to "bail" them. I also saw a list of sharing formula of what I understand was money paid by a suspect, and they began to advise the complainant to let go of the matter. Then I began to consider my own case too, was this how my fate was decided?

Ajetomobi Nike
(The victim)

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