By: Fasilat Rauf
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable” J.F Kennnedy
To affirm that violence is afterall, not the wrong step to take in the course of getting to the root of knotty issue, is as much as saying raining has no effect in the life of man. It is no longer news that the coronavirus pandemic brought lots of hardship to Nigerians amongst which is the: incessant robberies, hunger and brutality of the police officers. While those at the helms of affairs revel in their flamboyant lifestyle of plunging the nation into delirious state; an average citizen, count his woes at the dawn of each day and hope for a fruitful day ahead- fruitfulness in the relation to his ability to get a daily bread. Of great importance is the need for change against the menace of police officers whose brutality remain a mystery that is yet to be unraveled.
A video was published on Sahara Reporters on the 23rd of July, 2020 which revealed a 25 year old lady, caught in the house of a suspected criminal, who after being handcuffed, was interrogated in a lewd manner by one of the perpetrators identified as Wyclef. At first, it was meant to be a mild interrogation which later degenerated into questions about the lady’s personal life. She was queried on: why she was at the suspect’s house on that fateful day, whether or not she was a virgin, if she had sexual intercourse with the suspect, who deflowered her and why she broke up with the person that deflowered her. Also, the despicable officer stated that the lady left her previous boyfriend because the latter was not financially buoyant that if he(the officer) had woo her, she would have turned down his offer due to his financial status. These irrelevant questions were seemingly aimed at harassing the young lady to satisfy the officer’s cravings.
A background investigation shows that the harassed lady, Miss Beelolase Towobola, is a graduate of Economics from the University of Ibadan affiliated with Osun State College of Education. She graduated in 2017 but she could not go for her service earlier because University of Ibadan mobilizes students from main campus before mobilizing students from affiliated institutions. A look through her social media page shows that she runs an online store named Pulchritude where she sells shoes as she claimed in the video. According to one of her course mates, Salam Babatunde Afees “Towobola is not a wayward person. She is very gentle, disciplined, and knowledgeable. In a nutshell, she is not the kind the police are claiming she is.”
Few days after the event, the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, announced that the ignoble police officers and a civilian accomplice, who perpetrated the dastard act have been arrested. The police said “investigation was still ongoing after which internal disciplinary procedures will commence for the officers.” This is a case of harassment as against the Fundamental Human Right to dignity of human person and the right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of one’s choice. Also, it is against the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 which deter police officers from placing suspects in handcuffs unless they make physical efforts to escape. In as much as internal disciplinary is expedient, the victim is entitled to damages for breach of her fundamental human right by the officers. The continuous act of harassment of citizens by police officers show the level of nescience among the bad eggs. It is not only enough that the perpetrators have been arrested, they must be made to face the law. There is need for everyone to speak against the humiliation meted out on miss Towobola, only then, can justice be done!