Trae’s guide to surviving detention in Nigeria


So you’ve heard and read it all: the execution of Troy Davies in Georgia USA, The release by Iran of the US spies/hikers and the arrest of the British-Ghanaian banker Kweku Adoboli plus tons others. In all the common denominator I’m interested in at the moment is detention as a result of an alleged crime. What are some of the tips you’re better off knowing as a Nigerian male who’s expected to be a man in all situations, and if by chance you find yourself locked down how do you cope.

1) The first rule of being a Master Mind is to not get caught, yes as incompetent as the Nigerian security agencies are you still need to cover your tracks. The odds are stacked against you though cos in most cases somehow somehow fowl nyash dey open, but the smart will know how to lay low after a hit with making it in the long run in mind. But truth be told despite the thrill of a misdemeanor, and in a lot of cases trying to prove a point because you’re aggrieved ultimately there’s nothing as good as having peace of mind. The benefits of going legit cannot be overstated; your people need you and you can’t afford to let them down. Like Osaze, Enyeama and you're not indispensable and people tend to forget you when you go down. But form is temporal and class is permanent; try to be spotless and excel in your own field so that when your name is mentioned people remember you for the positive effect you had on their life.

2) For the most part infrastructure wise Nigeria can be a very horrible place. Thus if you find yourself in police detention be prepared for the worst. The EFCC net though is notches up that ladder possible because of the higher standing of the institute and inmates thus in many more ways its sanity friendly and assault and homosexuality free. Both ways though when the desirable is not available the available becomes desirable. Little things like pillows, bed space near exits become coveted and your animal survival instincts will come to play but your ability to be amiable will keep you in the good books of all. Detention will take away your freedom, you’ll dream not of driving a good car but of just being able to take a walk in the park. And not going anywhere fast you’ll think your whole life like reading the Bible start to finish many times over. Fear not though because whatever comes to a man is equal to a man. Stick with the happy crowd, there'll be lots of laughs to share and try to engage yourself productively. Stay healthy and body build when possible; also learn as many skills as you’ll be exposed to that’ll raise your value in the job market when you’re out. Personally I advise against getting your mind twisted with the Bible or religious stuff as it only serves to give you hope of a lazy kind with lots of man hours waste in tow. It’s like getting addicted to gambling instead of seeing how you can go one step better than chance/luck to seize control of your universe. In all try to keep a positive mind; worthy of note: The Shawshank Redemption.

3) Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. This idiom will come to play in your detention experience. I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime that I can authoritatively tell you that very few will be willing and able to sacrifice time and money to help you when you’re down. Some will sympathize from afar but for most life just goes on. Your 100% bet of people that’ll come get you out or run around to meet your bail conditions is your family, possibly because blood is thicker than water and people feel naturally drawn to help their own. Other than that this is when you’ll know your true/real friends. Forget about how much of the guy or popular you think you are now, detention and down times reveal the big picture. You’ll do well to reanalyze and balance out your relationships now knowing where the people in your life stand so as to avoid a shock therapy in future. On a lighter scale “thank God you’re not an Americans”, in the West its stuff like this that renders people homeless but you’re Nigerian and should make sure you have a healthy support system by your good deeds now that you’re on top.

4) Finally a note for government and anyone entrusted with leadership position over others. People just want to work and be happy (gainful employment), make an honest living and be able to splurge once in a while. Not worrying about where the next meal will come from and where to lay their head at night. To dissuade people from committing crime you’ve got to work your social security system, create jobs, pay a living wage and make available the necessary infrastructure. Humanity starts with you and me and realizing in our every action that we’re all brothers and everyone has the right to live and not just exist. It’s either that or the words of Tupac Amaru Shakur will forever reign true: “I ain’t guilty cos even though I sell rocks/it feels good putting money in your mail box/”.

Comment (1)

Great piece Sir! You should write more.