Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Date: Friday August 15, 2014
Time: Late evening
At the Wamakko Police Division in Arkilla a suburb of Sokoto metropolis, I sat behind the counter, signifying I was in police custody.
I retained my composure.
My dissatisfaction with the police, however, I was not to keep a secret.
Engaging the attention of an officer at the desk, I relayed my displeasure at police procedures.
The debate lasted for over an hour and at its core was the humanity of the police.
Was what was happening all right to him?
Is it acceptable to stick to the wrong things because that is the way things have always been done?
I reached deep within him.
He admitted he was not contented with the procedures.
However, should he intercede to rechannel the course of events, others will call him a name.
Recalling my interactions and concerns for Nigeria Police Force as well as Nigeria Armed Forces, I made clear I thought law enforcement officials are human.
Not any longer. Any police officer I meet will have to first demonstrate he is human.
The police are officially my enemies, I announced.
Sister, the police are your friend.
The police are not my friend. You are my enemy.
And do not call me sister. I am not your sister.
What should I call you?
That is up to you. Just do not call me sister.
Other police officers listened to the discourse with charmed keenness.
Meanwhile, my heart rent, not over my detention for that was not even a cause of consternation.
Still I was troubled.
The cause was my declaration of the police as my enemy.
And no, my distress was not over what abuses the police could perpetrate against me for that.
No. Worse, how do I cease caring for the police?
Moreover, the police are the closest symbol of the federal government.
How do I disregard the most ubiquitous representation of Nigeria?
As the argument proceeded, I was in torment.
I quietly hoped there was one, just one police officer who is endeared to justice.
~ Please note my full official name is Umm Sulaim Iman Taqwa and my ethnicity is Igbo not Yoruba. ~
A new shift of law enforcement agents began to arrive for work.
Absorbed in my thoughts, I was stunned to hear an officer address me in familiar terms.
He was a former colleague.
And yes, he recognised me without seeing my face.
One wonders how that is possible and in Sokoto.
And no, he has never seen my face.
My detention at the police station caused him distress.
He was that one police officer I sought.
At past eleven O’clock at night when I was eventually freed after signing a peace document, he arranged for a transport and dropped me home.
Before I left the police station that night, I was certain in my heart the police are not my enemies.
I love Nigeria.