On August 12, 2020, I was traveling from Delta State to Abuja by road. I had attended my older sister’s wedding in Warri, Delta State.
When we reached Edo State; a narrow feeder road that connects the main federal road, a forest, just about 20km from Auchi the Polytechnic town; SARS operatives numbering about 6, stopped our vehicle. They angrily beckoned on me and two other young men to alight with our bags. I obeyed.
They searched my bag and saw a computer mouse. They asked me to bring out the laptop. I obeyed. They asked for the receipt. I told them I didn’t carry it. They switched on the laptop and searched. They collected my phone and checked too. They checked everything – including WhatsApp messages and GMail app. They requested for my Identity card. I gave it to them. They asked what use the laptop was to me and why I walk around with it despite just coming from a wedding. I told them everything. I told them I work with the media and so I walk around with PC.
At some point, the driver who was already losing patience challenged the SARS operatives even when they identified that his vehicle was a company vehicle. They roared at him and cocked their gun to shoot him. He kept quiet and was soon led away by passengers to his vehicle.
After about 35 minutes of intensive grilling and quizzing, they asked us to go. We left. A handful of passengers frowned at me for kowtowing to their orders, adding that they violated my fundamental human rights — especially the right to privacy. I told them that was the best thing I could do. It was simply an act of wisdom and that I did that to prevent #JusticeForBright trend on Twitter.
Those guys appeared like bandits. They bulged their bloodthirsty eyes at me with lust for blood, while fingering my cell phone with their trigger-friendly fingers. They were sad that they couldn’t find anything incriminating on/with me.
While I was with them, I was careful enough: First, the location was a bushy area. A very thick bush. A forest. Had it been I dragged with them, they would have shot me dead and nothing would have happened. There would have been no trace of my body.
The issue of SARS has become a terrifying plague to Nigerian youths to a large extent. The videos and photos surfacing on social media beginning from yesterday are heart-wrenching.
At the moment there is chaos in Ughelli Delta State because a SARS operative shot a man dead and made away with his Lexus jeep.
Another similar incident happened in Apo—Abuja and a lot of similar brutality has happened and little or nothing has been done.
Something needs to be done quickly to end this turpitude from SARS Operatives.
The Nigerian Police Force needs a full reform and the SARS unit should be disbanded with alacrity.
Bright is a Graphic Designer, Writer & Columnist.