Stealing a glance at a patrolling police van in Nigeria, involuntarily create goose bumps on your skin, as one can’t be so certain anymore if a mere reflex action like exchanging eye contacts with policemen, can project you as a ‘deadly’ suspect to them, thereby making you a vulnerable potential candidate for human right abuse.
The Nigeria Police Force can be likened to a providing though abusive husband, who earnestly tries to meet his financial responsibility, but domestically abuse and disrespect his wife. The ‘wife’ in this context, are the citizens!
Although the police can boast of a few strides in ridding the society of crime, but if they keep violating and stripping the citizens of their rights, the people are eventually left with no respect for them, but fear!
Amazingly, despite the outrageous crime statistics, not all Nigerians have necessarily had a one-on-one face-off with armed robbers or notorious killers, but almost all Nigerians can narrate a personal spiteful experience with the Nigerian Police!
A good thinker at this point, may rightly be pondering… “Why generalize or conscript all policemen into the same category?”
Good question, my answer is simple. If you’ve had dealings worth relishing with a great police officer, well good for you. Personally for me and a host of others around me, we haven’t met any just yet! So could it be a mere coincidence? Or we’re possibly at the wrong side of the iron curtain?
Instances of police violations, are extremely numerous in Nigeria!
You’re taking a short evening stroll, possibly with your headphones on, as you nod along freely to your favorite song on the radio. And suddenly, you get cornered by a police patrol van(on a sole quest for bail money). They interrogate you with their well-rehearsed, three-in-one signature question: “Who are you?” “Where are you coming from?” “Where are you going?”
You on the other hand; confident, educated, trying to give them a little attitude like “I know my fundamental rights to freedom of movement.” How much longer have you got, before you’re wrestled to the ground and muscled into their rickety van like a common criminal? They just made your education a wasted jamboree!
Other astonishing instances of violation, includes a police officer assaulting a man on his way back from a night club, simply because a Durex contraceptive was found on him! What crime was that?
Nowadays, some Indian hemp smoking policemen, cunningly plant these substances in the pocket of ‘stubborn people’ who resist intimidation, in disguise of searching them just to get them implicated!
The Nigeria Police Force are not friends with citizens! Anyone you fear, who doesn’t consider your rights valuable, cannot be projected as a friend.
If the Nigerian police cannot come correct on their notorious violation of human rights, there is no love lost between us!
Nimi Princewill. Twitter: @princewill_nimi.