- On Saturday, September 28th, 2019, a Software Engineer located in Lagos, Nigeria, narrated on Twitter his encounter with Police while heading home
- He claimed to have been stopped while using a ride-sharing motorbike on his way home, accused of being an internet fraudster, and suffered physical assault and extortion by Police at the Ogudu H Area Command station in Lagos
- This is yet to be corroborated by the Lagos division of the Nigerian Police
- Bosun Tijani, CEO of Technology incubator Co-Creation Hub, reacted passionately to the tweets and called for more protection of workers in the tech ecosystem against harassment and false accusations of fraud
- IrokoTV CEO Jason Njoku announced on Twitter that he would contribute N10 million to Bosun Tijani’s efforts and called for more people to donate
Another weekend, another Software developer claims harassment by Police
The latest chapter in reports of Police harassment of Software developers came from an Engineer by the name of Toni Astro.
SARS is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Police. Below is a summary of his encounter:
- He hailed a ride-sharing service to take him from Abiola Gardens to Ketu in Lagos. Upon arriving at Ketu, he was stopped by two Police officers.
- They ended the trip, asked for his phone, checked it, then at gunpoint, accused him of being an internet fraudster and forced him to follow them to the Ogudu H Area Command station in Lagos. His claims of being a legitimately employed Developer fell on deaf ears.
- He was asked for N1 million to avoid going to the station.
- At the police station, he was interrogated by a total of six officers and assaulted by four of them while being asked to confess to being an internet fraudster.
- He was locked in a cell while the police officers went through his laptop and cell phone. Upon seeing his bank account balance online, he was asked to pay an undisclosed sum of money to be released.
- He stated that 80% of the money they saw in his account was to care for his sick father and transport himself to work where he is employed as a Software Developer. This was ignored.
- They refused an online transfer to avoid being traced. He was allowed to leave the station to use an ATM. He was released after the payment was made.
Did he file an official complaint with the Nigerian Police Force?
None of his tweets indicate that he did. The Nigerian Police have repeatedly asked for official complaints of harassment to be reported and provided communication channels to that effect. The official website for complaints can be found here
Note: The Twitter handle in the above image is incorrect. The correct handle is @PoliceNG_CRU
Co-Creation Hub CEO reacts with a call to action
Bosun Tijani, Co-founder and CEO of Tech incubator Co-creation Hub (CCHUB), who recently made the news when his company acquired Kenya’s iHub, reacted passionately to the encounter and called for Nigerians to come together to push back on the harassment of workers in the tech space.
Segalink alleges new IGP has blocked legislative efforts to address Police harrassment
Realtor and Human Rights Activist Segun Awosanya, popularly known as Segalink and originator of the #EndSARS hashtag, responded to one of Mr Tijani’s tweets saying efforts to legislatively combat harassment at the hands of the Police had been reversed by the new Inspector General of Police, Mr Abubakar Mohammed Adamu, who was appointed by President Buhari in January.
IrokoTV CEO announces N10 million contribution to address Police harassment
Jason Njoku, the co-founder and CEO of streaming service IrokoTV, responded with an announcement of a N10 million contribution towards the efforts Mr Tijani called for.
Mr Njoku also called for a “robust and concerted legal effort” if any impact was going to be made to protect young males in the tech space from harassment at the hands of law enforcement.
From N10 million to N100 million
Mr Njoku shared a link to receive contributions brought about by the combined efforts of Mr Tijani, the advocacy group ‘Enough is Enough Nigeria,’ and payment technology company Flutterwave. Njoku’s aim is to raise N100 million in donations
#EndSARS is number one trending topic in Lagos
As of the time of this writing on Sunday, September 29th, 2019, the #EndSARS hashtag was the number one trending hashtag on Twitter in Lagos.
If he hasn’t already, Software Developer Toni Astro has to lodge an official complaint with the Nigerian Police Force. Business Insider SSA will continue to monitor this incident for updates.
Update: Police apprehend officers that detained and extorted Software Developer
The Punch newspaper is reporting that Police Spokesperson, Bala Elkana, has announced that the officers in question have been arrested and are being interrogated.