The Senior Pastor of the Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos, Pastor Poju Oyemade, has recounted the experience of his wife in the hands of operatives of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the convener of The Platform, an annual conference organized by his church to commemorate workers day(May 1st) and (Nigeria’s independence) every October 1, his wife, Toyin was arrested and detained by SARS officers in 2019 for “flimsy” reasons.
He said while it took “personal recognition” and “social capital” to get Toyin released, some Nigerians who don’t have people of power to come to their rescue have suffered degrading treatments in the hands of SARS officers.
Oyemade, made this known in an Instagram post on Thursday.
He wrote, “Let me start with my personal experience with the SARS group also. Sometime last year, I got a call from my wife that she had been arrested and taken to the police station.
“I was heading for a service somewhere when I had to rush to where she was. I found what the officer said quite flimsy and to date don’t understand it.
“Things were worked out easily because on appearing at the place there was personal recognition as people were greeting me ‘pastor welcome’.
“Thinking back, if I didn’t have that social capital, things would have been quite rough. So I do understand what a young person may have to face regularly from such encounters. It can be dehumanising and humiliating not to talk about stories of people who say they were dispossessed of money etc.
“The government may have in an unprecedented manner come out to verbally assent to the requests of the movement but what the government needs to realise is what they ask for now is action; definite steps taken to show commitment to their words.
“They have been here before they say, they have seen promises broken, they want actual reform. They ask that simple steps be taken to show it is different this time. Things like bringing to book the officers who allegedly shot at the peaceful protesters should have happened.
“They say there are peaceful protesters who are still locked up. They need action.”
“At the heart of this is that this generation is tired of being led this way. Those in leadership must know this generation requires a more accountable system of leadership which are consistent with the ideals of a democratic government,” Oyemade added.