“Their only offence was that they are Nigerians”

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I.K. Okhai wrote, Today, I visited a client who was arrested alongside his 2 friends by some men from the Lagos state task force(KAI) for the purpose of securing their bail. The upcoming young artistes were on their way to where they were to make a performance when they were apprehended and detained because they didn't "cooperate" by parting with "settlement" initiatives offered by those "kicking against indiscipline". It was clear to me that their only offence was that they are Nigerians. Eventually, I secured their bail. That's not the main aim of this post. I'm here to tell you my experience while my visit lasted. While at the task force office, I requested to speak with my clients who were kept in Cell. There I met a young man whose story touched me. The young man who appeared well educated is an Uber driver. On Thursday 13th, he was on his way from where he went to drop a passenger when he was arrested. All his efforts to identify himself didn't yield any gain. He celebrated his Easter in cell. Immediately he was arrested, he was dispossessed of all the items with him, including his Identity card and Phone. He begged to be allowed to speak with his wife but was refused. All this while, no member of his family knew his whereabouts, including his young wife. He wasn't charged before any Court and wasn't allowed to speak with anyone. When he saw me, he said to me, "lawyer, please I'm dying here. Can you give me your attention for a second?". Among other young men who were struggling to have my attention, his words touched my heart and when the police officer who led me there insisted I shouldn't waste my time speaking with him, calling him a "common criminal", I sensed something was wrong. And I said to the policeman, "even criminals deserve to be heard". I insisted I must speak with him. When he gave me his story, I met with the police head and enquired into the reasons he wasn't allowed to speak with anyone and his continuous detention without trial. The police boss looked up in surprise and claimed not to be aware. I threatened to sue on his behalf to enforce his fundamental right(which I was ready to do anyway). The police had no choice than to release him to me. The young man has regained his freedom...in an unfortunate society. My pain still is, there were many others who called my attention that I couldn't attend to. The bulk is so overwhelming. I'm sure people like my Uber driver friend would still be languishing, and where they become so unfortunate, they will be transfered to prisons and languish there for years without help. How can a man sleep with all these knowledge? To my learned colleagues out there, Nigerians need you. Many are suffering. I have seen, I have heard, I have confirmed. Take a step today to help. I only visited a cell today. There are hundreds of cell across Nigeria. The common Nigerian daily story is a story of doom, pains, regret, neglect and utter rejection. Unfortunately, there is no solution in sight...unfortunately! Culled from Olaide Wangai Akin Facebook wall. Note: Image used are for illustration purposes.

1 Comment

  1. fourunner

    April 19, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Haa, Subhannalah, over power misused