A teenager has revealed how he was molested several times while in Kirikiri Prison. The teenager, Bashua (surname withheld), said that the incident happened in 2014, when he was just 16-year-old. He said that the policemen doctored his age, to ensure they arraigned and sent him to prison.
Bashua had recently regained his freedom, through the intervention of the Stephen and Solomon Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (WHO). The foundation is led by Mr. Giwa Amu, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer.
Bashua, a secondary school student, said he was returning home from a coaching class when he was arrested by a team of policemen. According to him, he was later charged to court for an offence he did not commit. He said: “I was remanded at the Kirikiri Prison and experienced being locked with over 100 inmates who were older than me. I was molested sexually. I was molested several times in a day.
They would tell me not to cry. I was in remand for one month and those days were hell for me.
I was going home from Epe, after coaching class, when a team of policemen on patrol arrested me at Obalende and took me to Bar Beach Police Station, Victoria Island. The police kept me in a cell with other boys and suspects for one week. I was arrested on November 20, 2014. The policemen told me and the other boys that we belonged to a gang that attacked a team of policemen. “I denied the allegation.
I told the policemen that I’m a secondary school student. I was just 16-yearold, but they did not listen to me. They beat us mercilessly and said we should shot up. I was in police custody for one week with other boys. Our parents were not aware we were in police custody.
The police arraigned us at Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Obalende. They doctored my age from 16 to 19 years. The magistrate ordered we should be remanded in prison.” Amu said the case of the 16-year old boy was most touching. He said: “His age was doctored to be 19. We started rehabilitating him since he was released because he told us that he was kept in the open cell where there is high activity of homosexuality. He said he was molested several times a day. He is undergoing treatment and we have placed him on scholarship so he can continue his education.” Amu added that boys were arraigned in court with no counsel representing them. He said: “As part of our prison ministry, we visit the courts regularly to help indigent accused with free legal services. We happened to be in court the day they were to be arraigned. It was a dock brief and we found out that they did not have any lawyer.”
Bashua was not the only youngster arrested and charged to court for allegedly attacking policemen. Others were Oladepopo (21), Samson (21), Yinka (19) and Andrew (20). The boys would have continued to languish in prison but for the quick intervention of lawyers.