Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
What a day it has been?
Shortly after 12:30 hours, I embarked on a stroll around my neighbourhood.
Which way was I likely to come across a polling unit?
I turned right, aware there was at least one secondary school in that direction.
That is an apt location for the election process.
The street was deserted and I snapped some photographs of the scene.
I observed the few vehicles and motorcycles were headed in one direction – forward.
Soon after I turned into Nasarawa area of Arkilla, I observed increased activities.
There were more people on the road moving in both ways.
On the opposite side of the street to my left inside a building was a crowd in a queue.
It was certainly a polling centre.
For at least five minutes, I stood on the spot and took photographs for my publications.
Civilians were around me.
My cellphone was clearly visible and sometimes even my fingers.
I did not fidget with my clothes or under my Hijab.
My purpose was to give adequate opportunity to anyone – civilian or law enforcement agent – observing me to verify I pose no security threat.
I knew better.
I overestimated the people.
Stupidity has no cure or vacation.
Actually, I had hoped against all odds that for once, the Hausa-Fulani would utilise common sense.
I gave them too much credit.
As I confided to the police, I left my home despite concerns for my safety just to show that elections were peaceful in Sokoto.
Elections were peaceful indeed, should peaceful signify willingness to lynch an innocent person over culture.
Again to the police:
I took pictures openly. If they had any sense, they would have known I was not a security threat. Boko Haram suicide bombers do not pause to take pictures.
Hausa-Fulanis knew I was taking pictures, after all that was their complaint to security agents.
Yet, the culture of idiocy must be upheld.
We really are in trouble in this nation.
I still love you Nigeria!
In any case, I proceeded along the road until I observed another polling unit at the end of the street.
Prior to reaching the end of the road, some young Hausa-Fulani men approached me.
I regret addressing them.
One must never engage imbeciles in a conversation.
I overheard some men insist I remove my Niqab.
On my way back, a vehicle pulled beside me.
An official possibly of the Independent National Electoral Commission ~INEC asked several questions.
People had complained I was snapping photographs, which I confirmed.
Men began to gather around me issuing threats.
The official asked them to disperse.
Another vehicle halted and a law enforcement agent walked towards me.
I was driven to Wamakko Division Police Station which was along the street and searched.
From there, I was taken to State Police Command.
After interrogation and writing a statement, I was assured I will leave at 17:00 hours the official end of restriction on vehicular movement.
I was kept at the Command for my safety so I am not lynched.
At the end of my interaction with the Assistant Commissioner Of Police, I asked that the police enlighten these people that:
Their culture or religion is not the law.
My profound appreciations to the Nigerian Police, to my great friend who spoke on my behalf and of course to Nigeria.
It is only in Nigeria that one can state to the police that one has the freedom to be different and the police uphold that right.
It is only in Nigeria that one can tell the police one prefers not to reveal one’s Religion to avoid religious impositions and the police respect that right.
On the statement form, my religion is atheism.
Thank you NIGERIA.
You have my loyalty forever.
Long live the Federal Republic Of Nigeria.