Nigerian comedian, actor, and activist Debo Adebayo, known by his stage name Mr Macaroni, says police officers took turns to beat him after he was arrested during the February 13 protest against reopening the Lekki tollgate.
Following the October 20, 2020 shootings at the popular #EndSARS site, many had kicked against the recommendation for reopening the tollgate.
Macaroni was among 40 protesters arrested for defying the Lagos state directive against the protest.
The protesters had been granted N100,000 bail each and arraigned on charges bordering on flouting the COVID-19 protocol on public gatherings and “breaking an order not to protest”.
A video went viral on Saturday, showing a police officer begging a Spanish biker for money. This generated heated criticism of the Nigerian police and heightened the calls for a reform of the force.
Taking to his Twitter page to join the fray, Macaroni recounted his experience at Adeniji police station after the February 13 arrest. He added that he filed a lawsuit to that effect in March and that the case is in court.
“Since our childhood days till now, This (bribery) has been the reputation of the Nigerian Police. All they care about is to collect money from you. It doesn’t matter whether you are a law abiding citizen or you are a terrorist! Just give them money,” he wrote.
“Everyday, there is always one Negative report or the other about the Nigerian Police. The Police have turned themselves to criminals. Robbing us, oppressing us and doing everything in their power to make life miserable for the Average Nigerian.
“I should promote the same police institution that oppresses Nigerians? Majority of your officers are just there to steal, rob, harass, brutalize and oppress the people. We see it happen everyday. You swore an oath to protect. Yet you kill and destroy. Zero conscience!”
According to the comedian, his ordeal inspired him to always use his platform to call out “the evil” in the police.
“When I was at Adeniji police station, the police officers took turns to beat me up. They were even calling themselves to come and beat ‘Mr Macaroni’. They said in my life when next I hear police, I will run! One said if not that people would ask about me, he would have killed me.
“That very day, I swore never to stop using my platform to call out the evil that the Police do. If they can do that to someone people know, imagine what they do to hundreds of thousands of unknown Nigerians. We are in court though. We filed since last month. Aluta Continua.”