Short Story: 100 Years a Slave

On that beautiful Monday morning, Officer Teso reported to the B Division Police station at Ajah estate, to sign in for his rifle. He greeted his fellow officers, quickly collected his rifle and changed into his uniform. He was about to head out with his unit when the DPO called on him. He answered “Oga sir” and hurriedly ran into the DPO’S office.

“How far now, where my own share from yesterday nah” the DPO asked him. He answered: “Oga na Tunde hold the proceeds oh.” “Ok una Don begin chop my share Abi, e be like say una want make I assign una to patrol”, echoed the DPO. Teso quickly apologized for not giving the DPO a share of the bribe they got the previous day and promised to bring it that evening.

He rejoined his unit and in no time they all jumped into their Toyota Hilux and headed out to the Protea Hotel where they were to meet the Chinese contractors who they guarded. On getting to the hotel, Teso and Tunde jumped down and immediately ran to carry the bags of the Chinese contractors who had been waiting for them at the lobby.

On seeing Mr. Tsi, Tunde dropped his rifle and lay down to greet him, calling him ‘master’. The hotel receptionist was shocked at Officer Tunde’s unusual show of respect. Once they had carried the bags, Tunde and Teso hurriedly followed the Chinese men to their car, dropped the bags in the boot and then pointed their guns in the direction of the gate.

A pregnant woman who was looking for a particular address was at the gate talking to the security men. She was still trying to point out the street number to one of the men when Teso walked up to her and pushed her. She fell on her stomach and hit her head on a bench, but Teso showed no remorse. He shouted: “madam you no see say we dey escort master, Abi you want to set them up.”

The Okada man who had brought the pregnant woman to the hotel tried to protest Teso’s brutality, but he was met with an even harsher treatment. Teso hit his head with the tail of his gun while Tunde pushed him and his motorbike into the nearby gutter. When some of the passerby’s tried to intervene in the ensuing police brutality, Tunde and Teso fired shots into the air and jumped into the Toyota Hilux while the driver sped off.

While they drove off, Mr. Tsi enquired from one of the officers sitting in their car what had transpired at the hotel gate. The officer told him that his colleagues were foiling a kidnap attempt on them – that they were doing their jobs. Mr. Tsi did not understand how a pregnant woman and a cyclist could attempt to kidnap them, but again he didn’t question any further. In about 30mins they arrived at their Construction site in a section of the Ajah area of Lagos. Mr. Tsi alighted his Ford Jeep and went straight to inspect the land in which they were to set up a new block of office for their company.

While they were inspecting their land, I drove into the complex to check on my own building project. My carpenter needed money for nails and we were in a hurry to finish the roofing before the raining season. On my way out, I stumbled upon one of the sorriest sights in my life – Tunde was holding an umbrella over Mr. Tsi’s head. I could not contain my surprise given that Tunde had harassed my brother the previous day. He boasted of how he was a no-nonsense officer while he frisked my brother of his one thousand Naira.

I quickly retrieved my Samsung android phone and took a picture of him, amidst much laughter and jeering from my workers in the car. I did not realize that one of the officers saw me. While I drove towards the road, Teso corked his rifle and asked me to stop. I slowed down, rolled down my glass and asked him if I could help him. To my bewilderment, Teso slapped me and dragged me out of my car. He said that I was taking pictures of Mr. Tsi so I could set him up to be kidnapped.

I pushed Teso back and warned him not touch me again, that he was accusing me falsely. I was still threatening to sue him for harassing me when Tunde and the other officers descended on me and started to beat me up. My workers came down from the car to try to plead with them, but Tesoslapped them around and made them lie down with their faces in the sand. While all that ensued, Mr. Tsi and his colleagues stood from afar and starred in shock.

They were not sure what to make of the entire incident playing before their eyes. While we were still lying on the floor, one of the officers went over to tell them that we were bad people and that we were taking pictures of them to relay to our gang. Officers Tunde and Teso held us on the ground for about 30mins, questioning and harassing us.

Meanwhile, my carpenter was recording everything that transpired, from the rooftop where he was working. He called my wife, Chidimma, who in turn call our family lawyer. The officers radioed their station for backup; they asked for a truck to be sent to convey me and my workers to the station. I then became very upset and in anger, I lashed out and called the officers slaves.

I told them they should be ashamed of themselves for treating their countrymen like thieves just to please an ordinary Chinese. While I was still scolding their actions, my lawyer, Etim, drove into the complex with my wife and two sons. I was livid with joy when I saw my gallant wife walk angrily towards where I sat.

At the sight of my lawyer, who was very popular in the city, the policemen started to whisper to themselves; they knew there was going to be trouble. Etim ordered them to take the cuffs off my hand and to give me back my phone and shirt. The officers spent the next 30 minutes making accusations and telling lies against me and my workers. Mr. Tsi and his colleagues tried to wade into the matter but I told them that it was too late. My words were: “please Mr. China man, go back to your work and let us trash this out with our slave minded brothers.” Mr. Tsi respected my request and retreated to the comfort of his car.

Today is the 1st of February and we are at the Ajah magistrate court. My lawyer had sued the officers through the Nigerian Police office in Ikeja. We presented a strong case and proved beyond reasonable doubt that I and my workers were not kidnappers. The honorable judge, SAN Akindele, after hearing my case and watching the video my carpenter had recorded, declared us not guilty. He mandated the Nigerian police to demote the officers involved and to pay us compensation of 10million Naira each, for character assassination and occasional harm.

He also made a jest of Tunde for holding an umbrella over the head of Mr. Tsi like he was his house boy. Before the honorable judge took his leave, he said these words to the officers: “It is a shame that you who were trained and chosen to defend the rights of the citizens have in turn worn the caps and masks of slaves and chosen the foreigner over your own. The Asian or European is not above you and should not be given preference over your fellow brothers and sisters in their fatherland.”

Article Written By Chuka Nduneseokwu

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Liberty Writers Africa

Liberty Writers Africa

Our mission is to raise the collective consciousness of Africans all over the world. And also giving an account of our uniqueness, we hope to reintroduce Africa to the rest of the world. At the core of our vision, is to liberate the African mind - to make Africans discover their voice through literature.

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