Mayokun Olayiwola, a final-year student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, tells BOLA BAMIGBOLA about his experience with officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad

Can you tell us about your encounter with SARS?

I am Olayiwola Mayokun, a student of Philosophy at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. I am already in my final-year and I should have left school, but for the closure occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. I have had many encounters with the state and federal SARS in the past. The last one I had happened in Ife a few years ago. It was very pathetic. They arrested me for no justifiable reason and kept me in a cell overnight. They made me miss my examination.

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How did it happen?

I was going to school that afternoon to write an examination. I was walking along Aserifa road towards the campus gate when they accosted me. They were about four at the checkpoint and they asked for my phone. I told them the phone was not with me because I was going to school to write an examination. We don’t go into the examination hall with any gadgets. After listening to my explanations, they said I looked like a bad boy. That sounded very funny initially, because I thought one of them that said that was merely joking with me. I was even laughing.

The leader of the team gave me a hot slap and ordered me to enter their van. They said I should take them to my house but I refused. Doing that would not allow me to meet up with my 4pm examination. I was scared because missing the examination might lead to an extra year for me. They eventually drove me to Moore police station in Ile Ife. I was detained in the cell till the following morning. I could not write the examination that day. It was a computer-based test. I have names of those that arrested me and I can still recognise them.

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What happened during your detention?

 I was forced to write a statement claiming that I was in possession of Indian hemp. I was allowed to call my parents and could not believe it when they talked my parents into buying their story that I was in possession of weed. That really saddened me. My parents were made to pay N30,000 for my bail. The guy that forced me to write a statement was not even there at the point of my arrest.

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Who were those that arrested you on that particular day?

They were SARS men, though they were not wearing any uniform and they didn’t come with a police van. During the period, SARS men usually move in a wine Toyota Corolla car and a black van. Every student in Ife knows these vehicles. If you come across them, you must flee because they symbolise danger.

What did you do after you were released?

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