My Worst SARS Experience – @OmoGbajaBiamila | #EndSARS
Today seems to be an appropriate day to share one of my worst SARS stories.
Happened in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state when I was still in school (OOU). I could have died that day but thank God. I have had so many encounters with them but this was the craziest.
I was living with my friend & his mum in Ijebu Ode. That Saturday morning, she asked us to take her car, buy fuel for the generator, go to the market and buy ingredients for soup. Off we went, two young boys in a Honda Civic, playing music and nodding our heads.
We decide to map the journey, so we said fuel first, then market afterwards. On Lagos Garage road in Ijebu Ode, we drove into a Total filling station. Just as we parked at the closest dispenser. We had not even stopped the engine, a Golf car crossed us.
Three guys jumped out of the Golf in a commando-styled jumping and pointed their guns at us. Initially, the petrol attendant and other people in the filling station fled because everyone thought it was a robbery as that axis is notorious for bank robberies.
I sat in the car, trying to figure what was happening. Then they started barking at us to come down from the vehicle. It was at this point I noticed the bullet-proof vest with Police written on it but these guys don’t look anything like policemen but we obliged them.
I stepped out of the car and one of them asked us to identify ourselves. I brought out my school ID, my friend did same. “I am a computer science student of OOU Ago-Iwoye,” I told them. My friend was a law student.
Then they asked to search the vehicle.
We said ok. They searched and found nothing but a stick of Benson cigarette under the driver’s seat that must have fallen from my friend’s pocket. One of them picked it and said it is an exhibit. I was wondering if it was a crime to own a stick of cigarette.
Next, they asked for vehicle papers. I checked the glove compartment and brought the papers out. Unfortunately, there was about 50k in the glove compartment (My school fees). One of them asked to see the money. I showed him and told him it was my school fees
Gbam! Exhibit 2 (My School Fees). They flipped through the papers and then asked who owned the car. We told them it was for my friend’s mum. They checked again and said; “Ok, now, we’re going to the station.”
“Ahan, oga why na? What have we done wrong?” I queried.
They said; “when you reach station, you’ll know.”
At that point the people that fled initially, started coming back when they saw thaw it was Police and not robbers.
So, I told them we are not going anywhere. Trust my lawyer friend was already quoting sections.
After much haggling, I had to compromise. So I said; “Ok, we will go to the station but first, we must call out mother to inform her of the situation so that she can know where we are.”
They blatantly refused. They insisted station first before any phone call.
I started pleading with them even though, I was already disgusted inside me. I don’t have this kind of patience but they’re all armed so the best thing was to negotiate peacefully.
I insisted we must make the call before going anywhere. That was our point!
Despite my plea, they would not budge. So, I asked one of them who sounded a bit reasonable that he should allow us call my friend’s mother at least. While, I was trying to negotiate, my friend whipped out his phone and started dialing his mum.
SHAAAAAAaaaaaraaaa! was the next thing I heard. The slap was one that could end one’s career. Man, I looked back immediately I heard the slap. Fam, my friend was on the ground with his phone scattered all over the place. Like, they slapped the phone and ear, everything.
JESUS!!! I wanted to die. I saw my friend on the ground. The guy that slapped him did not stop hitting him. Despite the fact that he was on the ground, this idiot kept kicking him just because he wanted to call his mother to inform her that he was being arrested.
I went mad immediately. I was not even thinking at all. I went straight for the officer-in-slaps. I jacked him by his vest, pushed him with all the strength in me. I shoved him so hard, he fell against the fuel dispenser, then I pinned him there with all my weight.
He had the strap of his gun hanging round his neck, so his gun was resting on his chest. I hugged him tightly because he was trying to hit me. I hugged the gun to his chest, making sure he could not handle it. He was trying to hit me and to also reach for his gun
The more he tried, the more I hugged him, pinning his gun to his chest and ensuring I was close enough so that he could not hit me. He was trying to push me off but na die today!
At that point, my head was blank but I remember shouting; “WHY DID YOU SLAP HIM???”
I continued shouting; “WHY DID YOU SLAP HIM???” repeatedly. then the others descended on me from the back, pulling me and slapping me. They were trying to detach me from him but mo hug weyrey pa.
Something told me he might shoot if I loosen my grip.
In my mind, it was a fight for my life. So, we go kuku die together. We’re in the same position until the guy who led them tapped me & said; “Look at me, leave him.”
I started to loosen my grip slowly but carefully. Finally, he broke free, with both of us panting.
As soon as he was back on his ‘feet’, he started shouting; “I will kill you, I will kill you.”
After a minute of catching my breath, I looked at my guy, the slap-mark on his face be like tribal marks. I don’t know how he survived that slap.
Depsite all, they insisted we will go to the station. I said for what?
Then they dropped the first allegation; Suspected Stolen Vehicle. I weak straight not because the car was actually stolen but because we bought the car just 2 weeks before & it may be true.
But, wait. Na me go buy this car from Shagamu na, we bought it from a trusted source.
It is not possible but I could not argue there. Na that allegation first weak me. We had no defence because we had not done change of ownership. So we followed them to the station.
When we got there, they put us in a room. Their oga came and asked us questions. We answered. Awon weyrey, dem don go lie for our head.
They changed the allegation from stolen vehicle to suspected armed robbery.
All the while, my friend’s mum was already calling because we had taken so much time and we had not returned. They allowed us to pick the call. I told her that we have been arrested and that we are at Igbeba Force Headquarters.
Trust Nigerian mother; “JESUS!!!!!”
She jumped in her other car and started heading to the station. While enroute, she had called all the police commissioners she knows. I’m not sure if there was an Army Barrack that she had not called by the time she got to us.
When she got there, she claimed the car but awon weyrey ti change story. They said they’re radioed that 2 boys were planning to rob a bank (on a Saturday ooo). That we matched the description that was given to them. At that point, I could not help but laugh.
Read there allegation: “We were radioed that 2 young men driving a wine-colored car around some banks in the area with plans to rob, they’re wearing black shirts. So, we accosted them and found 50k and a stick of cigarette in the car.”
They didn’t end it there. They said; “while we were performing our lawful duty, this one (me) beat up one of our officers. We have every reason to believe he is a notorious cultist (New Allegation).”
They didn’t mention that they slapped my friend o!
Every time I tried to speak about the slap, their oga barked at me to shut up.
Eventually, they got a search warrant to search our house. They even speculated that I had a gun better than theirs & that was why I was not afraid to confront an armed policeman.
In their words; “This one (me) na cultist, e go get better gun for house because e nor de fear AK-47.” They asked me to show my hands, I did and they concluded that my right hand looked like the hand of someone that knows how to use a gun very well.
They took us home and searched everything including our computers. They found nothing apart from projects and some other school materials.
When they saw that they’re losing the fight, they said we are Indian hemp smokers (New Allegation), pointing to my friend’s lips.
Like 5 different allegations now, but none could be proven. So they took us back to the station. By the time we got there, their oga had received some calls but they still wanted to nail us for all the troubles. Then they remembered the 50k
New Allegation Alert: Internet fraud. They said the 50k was Yahoo money. So, I had to call my parents in Lagos, who confirmed to them that indeed, they gave me the 50k.
But the guy who slapped my friend insisted that I had something in me that gave me courage.
So, he insisted that they will have to follow us to our hostel, to search for weapons.
He was so sure that they’ll find weapons. And that, to me, was funny. The guy was trying so hard and was willing to grasp at anything to nail us.
They tried and tried but could not find anything substantial on us, so they had no choice because several commissioners had even called for our immediate release. They made us sign some papers because the officer-in-slap claimed his life was in danger from me.
They made us sign an undertaking that nothing will happen to their officers after the incident… LOL, ase awon weyrey sef de fear. Smh!
Even when we’re leaving, one of them promised to visit us in school because he was convinced we were cultists.
Of course, we didn’t leave without the usual pep talk from their oga; “You know you guys are still young and have a long way to go. Never challenge an officer who is carrying a weapon. It is not appropriate.”
Months later, I figured it was a stupid thing I had done but at that moment, I was not thinking. I’m not the type to see injustice and then worry about myself. I nor too get sense like that. I go fight first, then reason later.
Now, the funny thing was; at the moment they accosted us, we were listening to Implication by Tuface.
We didn’t know we were about to be implicated by those paid with taxpayers money to protect us.
The chant for #EndSARS must not stop here. We must continue to demand!
About the Author: Adeeko Ademola @OmoGbajaBiamila is a Fiery Writer • Digital Content Creator • Public Relations • Entrepreneur • Patriotic Nigerian