A footballer in Nigeria’s elite division, Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL); Stephen Chukwude was at the receiving end of the current spate of high handedness by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Monday.
Chukwude who last played for reigning league champions Enyimba was on his way to Enugu for a medical appointment before his encounter with members of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) who accused him of being a fraudster, commonly known as a “Yahoo Boy” because he owns a car and and iPhone.
A live video recorded by the former FC Ifeanyiubah forward has since gone viral and the player, nicknamed Alan Zaki narrated his experience in a chat with www.aclsports.com on Tuesday.
ACLSports: Can you tell us where the incident happened?
Chukwude: It happened at Ugwu Oba, in Enugu state. I was on my way to Enugu from Awka.
ACLSports: After all the arguments in your live video, what happened at the end of the day. Did they take you to their station or what?
Chukwude: No they didn’t. They were even afraid to take me to the station and I didn’t know why.
ACLSports: It was at a checkpoint and you identified yourself. What then happened?
Chukwude: When they “pulled me over”, they told me they were on a special duty, I said okay and I submitted everything for inspection.
He then told me he was done, and was about going back to his duty post but he then saw my iPhone which was switched off. He now came back to pick it and said “I have searched and confirmed that you are a footballer but I am suspecting something; that you are a G-guy, a Yahoo boy.”
I said, Ah! Officer, wetin be dat wan again? He said, “don’t talk to me, you are a yahoo boy.” Just like that o. I said Oga but you’ve searched everything including my booth so how you did you come up with that? He said he knows me. So, I had to raise my voice that time because I was afraid at that point because it was a bushy area, no house or anything.
ACLSports: How many Police officers were at that check point.
Chukwude: They were just two o and that was what scared me the most and I was wondering what if they were not even policemen.
ACLSports: How did you now get out of their hands?
Chukwude: The only thing that helped me was the live video that I did. The one that I videoed was now complaining to the other guy that “Look at this small boy, he videoed me” so they started checking my phone but meanwhile, they didn’t know it was a live video. You could see from the video that I didn’t allow him see the video initially but I later changed it so he could see it and know what he has done.
I was even afraid because I didn’t know where they were taking me to. When they didn’t see the video, they dragged the phone with me but I didn’t allow them, they now took me to a place which is not a Police Station. The one I videoed was in my car while the second one took the Police vehicle.
I saw some flashy cars there. Immediately we got there, the other one now came to meet the one inside my car that “Oga, that one (one of their other victims) has agreed to pay 150,000 nairas that he wants to make a transfer. I was like, what for? So, one of those at the place now asked me to come down from the vehicle which I did.
I showed him my ID Card and explained to him that I am a footballer but this man is now saying I’m a Yahoo Boy. They started saying all sorts that they will take me to EFCC that mine is not a small matter. They were also making (fake) calls that “Inspector, we are bringing a suspect for you to investigate.”
While I continued to argue with them, the guy that we met there was now asking me to settle. I said I don’t have anything to settle, they now said they would take me to the station. I asked them to proceed because I was even scared at that location.
When we got to the Police Station, I was about driving inside when they were screaming that I should not enter that they would need to get order from inside the station to transfer me to EFCC. By that time, notifications and calls started to come in to my phone. They now did as if they were taking me somewhere else, then they stopped me at one bend on the road.
The same guys that were speaking English with me started speaking Igbo that I should “bless them” that I should just find anything for them. I insisted that I don’t owe them anything but when it was becoming too much and I don’t even want them to shoot me, I gave them 1,000 naira note and they released me.
Champions attitude!……?? pic.twitter.com/UkGOu54osr
— Stephen chukwude (@alanzaki2004) June 22, 2019
ACLSports: What does this experience do to you regarding Nigeria’s security apparatus?
Chukwude: I think that impression that any young person that has a car and a good phone is a Yahoo Boy is very wrong. People can make money in a legal way and decide to buy whatever they want. They don’t have to seek for advice from government or any security people before buying what they need.
This intimidation is too much. Honestly, I felt humiliated yesterday. They collected my phone, driving to nowhere and was very afraid they might shoot at any point.
Stepehen Chukwude was in the Enyimba squad that won the NPFL title in Lagos, in June.