IT IS ONE WEEK TODAY, I STILL INSIST, I SEEK JUSTICE.
By Adamu Sodangi Aliyu
Dear good people,
Before you converge here to mourn my passing, I felt you should know this:
Last Tuesday, 28th September 2021. I was watching the UEFA Champions League at a (public) viewing house in Rinjin Gani, Toro L.G.A. of Bauchi State. Behind me there was a man, just towards the end of the first 45 minutes of the game, he put his hand on my shoulder and presses me down. I perceive the act annoying and possessing some element of malice then I turned around and look at him inquisitively without a word.
“Yes, you are blocking my view!” he said.
“How and what am I to do then?” I asked him.
Then he said; no, he does not meant fight oo! I said I do not meant fight either. Then he said that I should reduce my height (not that I should shift fa). I told him I don’t know how, I can reduce my height, when it went further I told him that he came and met me there and I also told him that it’s not him that paid for me.
When it’s time for the 15 minutes break, as I rose up to go out with my brother (who is sitting with me) the man also rise and followed after me, he then grabbed my arm this time around and said he wants to talk to me. I told him I don’t want to talk to him. He persisted, then I free myself and told him I have something to do he should excuse me, by that time people have started gathering, then I heard them saying to him “officer please sorry, please it’s okay” (it was at that moment that fully grasp that the man is some sort of a security personel) I told them I didn’t do anything wrong to him and that I’ll not apologise to him and left.
At the commencement of the second 45 minutes, the man came back, this time around with others (I don’t know their number at that time, but I was later informed they were three) they were holding flogs and canes. He pointed at me and one of them grabbed and draw me to follow them, “na you wan fight soja ba? Muje zakaci ubanka” (there I realise that the man is a soldier)” he said. I told them, I am not going anywhere. The next thing I heard is floggings, punches and kicking from every angle. They carry me up in the football viewing house and were taking me to their camp, I managed to force myself down, persisting that, I do nothing wrong to anyone and I’m not following them. They beat me up, to near death, in the presence of over hundred people watching ball in that viewing house. They left after realizing that I’m no longer conscious and dump me inside a pond of mud water and return back to their camp.
Nobody was able to stop them; except for few individuals that were able to plead to them not to kill me.
A friend sends me details of the Nigerian military, personnels unprofessional conduct report contact and he also advises that I should complain to the police. Meanwhile, someone in the viewing house went and informs their head (head of the Joint Task Force (JTF) of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU)) in Rinjin Gani. He came and confirms what he’s heard and promises me that he will do something about it.
I went to the police at that night, the police upon hearing my complain said that I should go to Magama Gumau to complain to one Captain (as they said) he is the head of the military in Toro local government. I told them I have no interest in reporting to him, I want them (the police) to pursue for my justice. They told me there’s nothing they can do to me right now; I should come back tomorrow morning.
That night I dialed the military personnels unprofessional conduct hot line and put a complain. The next day in the morning, they called me back and request for my name, address and where the incident happened. I after that report same to each of their four different Whatsapp numbers and also sent texts.
The next morning (29th September, 2021) I return to the police station to file a complaint, the police ask me if I can write my statement by myself which I did. Then the policeman handling the case said to me since I don’t know the name othe soldier, but I can recognize him. I have to go with him to the JTF camp of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit but he said we should go to Magama first, to see the Captain (the captain told us that he’s been promoted to Major) and complain to him. The Major after hearing from me start to ask questions like whose team is winning or losing. How’s the arrangement of seats in the viewing house? Which to me are too embarrassing for the person of his age and credentials, he told me he felt bad about it and said to the police officer that he should call the JTF and tell them to meet at the police station the next day so I can identify the soldier.
On 30th we met at the police station, one soldier (he’s the person sitting behind me in the football viewing house) one security and civil defence officer and three police men (all members of the JTF) we all converge at the office of the Divisional crime officer (DCO) of the station, with the DCO I and II(so I heard them say) I was asked to narrate what has happened I said all as it happened. They asked him to narrate what has happened and he did. He boldly and unremorsefully went saying to the hearing of everyone there, that “even if he’s a civilian, packing shit” that what I did to him, he cannot take it. The police after that only managed to casually tell him that he’s wrong, although me too I have my own to be blamed for.
Still nobody has been able to show me where I went wrong, for what sin soldiers have to team-up to beat me, in the presence of over hundred people, at a viewing house, they started to preach to me about forgiveness and how every human is bound to err. I swear neither the soldier nor any of the JTF men apologise to me in any way, not even with a gesture.
I insisted that I want justice; I want the police to go ahead and file a prosecution. The police told me that they cannot prosecute him, because it’s not possible to sue an officer on duty unless if he’s dismissed, for me to get to him I have to sue the Nigerian army and I said I want to sue the Nigerian army which they told me is a long process beyond their power. What I need to do now is to apply for withdrawal of the case from the police, so that I can proceed to the court.
I’m given a paper and pen to apply for withdrawal because they convince me that’s the process! I was about to apply then I decided to call a friend lawyer to seek his advice, he told me not to apply for any withdrawal. I went back to tell them my lawyer said I shouldn’t withdraw the case that he’s coming with me tomorrow. The police have dismissed the JTF already and were in their car, about to go. It was on hearing about the coming of a lawyer the next day that they call the JTF for a written statement.
Later in the day, president of The Association of Nigerian Authors, Brr. Maiwada who’s promised to help after he leant of my ordeal asked me about what’s happened in the police station. He’s asked if I have the details of my molesters, I told him I don’t because they all arrived at the police station putting on sweaters. He asked me not to worry and inquired whether the police have taken statement from my witnesses; I told him they haven’t, there he asks me for the address of the police station.
Friday 1st October is public holiday, there won’t be work. On Saturday (2nd October) in morning I receive a call from the owner of the viewing house he requests to visit me. I asked him to come over to my house; when he arrived, he repeats the same plea he’s been making to me to let the matter go. I thanked and promised him that I’ll look into it.
When he was about to leave he jabbed my heart with the purpose of his visit. The let me know that he’s cautioned by the JTF to never let me into his viewing house again and that if he does, at his own peril.
Dear good people. Please know that:
I’m sympathized with; I’m urged to leave everything in the hands of God and I’m very grateful for that love and concern.
I’m wallowing and suffocating in great pain over this abuse on my dignity and right.
I insist, I persist, I seek justice.
My existence is under serious threat.
Thank you for your understanding and for sharing my pain.
Adamu Sodangi Aliyu
05 October, 2021.