On October 13th, the youths of Kaduna assembled to protest following the agitation all over the country for the abolishment of SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad), a unit under the Nigerian Police Force.
The Kaduna protest was set to take place at GTBank Barnawa was later moved to Narayi Highcost because the a number of police was stationed at their original meet up location and some protesters had been arrested. The protesters walked through Barnawa and later converged at GTBank to agitate for their cause and the release of the arrested Protesters. After a couple of hours, they were released.
We interviewed one of the arrested protesters by the name Ridwan Abdullateef and he had this to say;
Interviewer- Hello, how are you?
Ridwan: I am doing fine. Thank you.
Interviewer: Great, let’s get into this.
Ridwan: [laughs] Yes, let’s do this.
Interviewer: So let’s start with your name.
Ridwan: My name is Ridwan Abdullateef, yeah, that’s my name.
Interviewer: Welcome Ridwan. So we heard you were arrested.
Ridwan: Yeah, I was arrested for the leading the protest but I guess they have been out for me since I led the first ENDSARS protest In Kaduna in front of the government house.
Interviewer: When were you arrested?
Ridwan: 8am. From 8 am till 1pm.
Interviewer: How did it happen?
Ridwan: So at the second scheduled ENDSARS protest, I heard there was a lot of policemen around Gtbank Barnawa where the protest would be happening. I had been getting calls about it and people asking if it was still happening and I told them to chill, I would check. I went with my flag. Getting to GT bank I saw more than 100 policemen and they started “hey you, why are you carrying flag?” and I was like I love flags, that’s why I am walking with it.
Ridwan: They said “ no, it’s not possible. Why are you wearing red” And I was like, ’ Oga, I dey come from jogging. I no know wetin you dey talk’. Then they said the protesters coming today are wearing red and black and I was a part of them. I told them that it was said on Twitter not to wear colors. They asked again how I know all these if I was not a part of them. I went on to say ‘the information on twitter is for everybody’.
They went on to ask for my ID which I showed to him. And then he said he would hold me responsible for whatever happens today and I was fine with that.
Few minutes later, I was sitting on my own and I took a picture of a policeman another policeman started shouting “Why are you taking a picture of us! You took a picture of us!”
And so on.If you know Nigerian policemen, you know they can turn A to C in seconds.They started talking about a car reversing and while I was behind the car, do I want to kill myself and then they will think that it’s them that killed.From nowhere, they pushed me into the police van. They were hitting my head slapping me and we use the butt of their gun to hit me and I was taken to the station.
At the station, they told me to write a statement. What they do is, they tell you what to write. As I was writing, a friend I greeted before the whole drama was also brought in and I was like ‘guy what happened’ he then told me that they took him in right after I was taken.
Interviewer: How were you treated?
Ridwan: well, not like Lagos people because when I got out, my pictures were taken and posted, a guy from the South commented “ na so Kaduna police dey?, your face still fine, no dirty”
The police were instructed not to harm us and to release us immediately . They were actually nice. Apart from the beating in the car I was not touched again.
Interviewer: what is it about the ENDSARS movement?
Ridwan: I led the first ENDSARS protest because I wanted to amplify the voices of our brothers who are suffering from this. A lot of us in the north have not experienced such.
What I want to share to everybody out there is that this is beyond SARS. This has gotten to the point that we are holding our leaders accountable for their actions. We may not be able to achieve everything that we want but we have to make a stand now.
I pray in 2023 youths come out with this same energy so we can actually change the face of leadership.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for honoring this interview
Ridwan: It’s my pleasure