Tuesday, 8 October 2019

FSARS Shaved My Head At Gunpoint – Efosa Osayande, AAU Undergraduate

Aspiring musician and student of Ambrose Alli University , Ekpoma , Efosa Osayande , speaks on his recent encounter with some operatives of the Federal Special Anti -Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force, in this interview with ENIOLA AKINKUOTU


You made a social media post about your head being shaved by some FSARS operatives . Can you tell us how it happe ned ?

I was travelling in a commercial bus , on my way to school from Benin City last Friday , when some men of the Federal Special Anti - Robbery Squad halted my journey . I was travelling in company with my friend , Washington . One of the policemen looked into the vehicle and stared at the passengers . Immediately the policeman spotted us, he said he must shave our heads . He ordered the bus driver to park on one side of the road .


What were the other passengers doing when this was happening ?

Everyone was begging the policeman , but he did not listen . He raised his rifle, pointed it at us and threatened to shoot if we failed to keep quiet. He ordered Washington and I to get out of the vehicle and walk ahead of him .

The policeman told the driver to wait for us, promising that the shaving would be quick. As we were walking , another policeman told us to cross to the other side of the road and asked us to sit on the ground. He took a razor from a nearby tree and started to shave my friend ’s head .

While this was going on , the bus driver walked up to a police patrol van and appealed to their leader to prevail on his men to stop . Although the latter asked his men to leave us alone, they refused . After shaving my friend ’s head , they went on to shave mine , injuring my scalp in the process .

What kind of hairstyle d id you have?

My hair was just a little rough , but my friend wore dreadlocks .

What was the reason they gave for shaving your head?

They didn’ t give any reason. They just said they wanted to do it .

When exactly did this happen?

It happened on Friday , October 4 , 2019 , around 11 am.

Did you see the inscription on their patrol van ?

I didn’t get a clear view of the van , but I saw Federal SARS written on their uniforms .

We re they all in uniforms ?

Yes, they were .

Were you able to see their name tags ?

Unfortunately I wasn’ t able to see their name tags .


How many policemen were they ?

I saw three policemen . One of them shaved our heads. The second policeman was the one who stopped our vehicle , while the third policeman sat in the patrol van .


Can you recall the exact spot where the incident occurred ?

I cannot say for sure , but the spot was a few kilometres away from a Jehovah Witness camp , on the road to Ekpoma .


Did they a ccuse both of you of being cultists?

No , they didn’ t . They didn’ t even say they wanted to check our cell phones or accuse us of being ‘ Yahoo’ boys ( fraudsters) . They just said they wanted to shave our heads .


Why didn ’ t you resist the policemen ?


The way they pointed their guns at us was scary enough. I didn’ t want any kind of mistake to happen ?

H ave you reported the matter to the police ?
I am scared of reporting to the police because I don’ t know what their reaction will be . I have a feeling that they will just sweep the matter under the carpet .


Have you been threatened in the past because of your hairstyle ?

Yes. There was a time when some policemen ordered me out of a vehicle and searched my cell phone . Although they couldn’ t find anything incriminating on my phone , they still went on to call me a ‘yahoo boy ’ . When I tried to explain, they said I should keep quiet and kept calling me a fraudster .

I told them that I was a musician and they could call my mum to confirm, but they refused to allow me to make any phone call . Instead , they told me to follow them to their station. This is the second time that I have suffered in the hands of the police .


A re you truly a student of Ambose Alli University ?

I am a 100 level student of Health Science in the university .


Will you grow your hair again or just remain on low cut ?

I will grow the hair , but I will do away with the former hairstyle since it has become a big problem to the police . I will stick to the low cut .


You said the policeman , who shaved your head, injured y ou in the process . Have you gone for medical treatmen t?

Yes, I have had a PEP ( Post -Exposure Prophylaxis ) .


Do y ou know why the police shave the heads of youths nowadays ?

I really don ’t know what is wrong with Nigeria . I am just 18 . These hairstyles are common among young people of my age . In my opinion, what the police are doing to youths is nothing but wickedness . It would have been better , if they asked us to cut out hair . Exposing us to health risks is sheer wickedness on their part .

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