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“I had my first share of police brutality when I was just 12” – Felicia

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Felicia Okpara, one of the ladies assaulted by members of Area C Command of the Nigeria Police at Ojuelegba on Monday recalls that she had the first share of police brutality when she was just 12.

Felicia with a swollen lip

I had my first share of police brutality in 2005. I was a minor, I was only 12 years old when I was arrested and thrown inside the cell, myself and my elder sister, and my mom was asked to go get money for bail.

It was just a fight between me and a boy. We were of the same age and my elder sister, who was 14 years old at the time, told me the boy insulted my mom which I confronted him. I asked him why he was insulting my mom, what happened that it got to the point where you started hitting my little sister who is just one year old. So, it turned to a fight and when the fight got out of hand, the aunty of the guy called the police because we are her tenants, so she called the police for my mom. So, when the police people came, they saw that it was just me and the boy that were involved in the fight. My mom did not fight anybody, it was just me and the boy that fought. So, they took us to the police station that Friday morning. I can’t remember the month, but I remember the day well because I was supposed to go for a school party, but I couldn’t go.

We were at the counter until the policeman’s shift ended and he threw us in a cell because my mom couldn’t raise money to bail us. It wasn’t a good sight, it was very horrible, everywhere was smelling. I was just 12. I had to write statement that I fought with a boy my age.

So that was what triggered me to join the protest in Surulere on Monday.

Felicia Okpara, 27 year-old single mum, brutalised by the police

Read the full interview here.

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