We've Had Enough

We've had enough is a short story about police brutality. This is a snippet of the short story. If you need to read the full story, the link is in my bio. You will find in Bambooks, Tell books and Tell books.

1‘’I work hard for my money!” I could never forget the day he was killed. Why? Because a part of myself had died also. Ayodeji Lesi, popularly known as “DJ,” was more than a good friend of mine. Some people might even say that he was my boyfriend or “side-nigga”.He was the best guy-friend a girl could ask for. DJ and I had been friends forever. Our friendship had survived a lot, from the issue of long-distance to negligible trivial gossip of others. One of the million reasons why I loved him was because of his brutal honesty. He was a young man that spoke his mind and stuck to his opinions. He didn’t care if anyone had a problem with it.

Four years ago, I remember when his uncle was pressuring him to study Law. He refused, saying, “what’s the point of studying something that isn’t respected in Nigeria?”. “Nigerians don’t care about the law.” He always said. He and his uncle fought about the issue for a long while before the old man realized that no one could change Deji’s mind. The young boy was obstinate. Deji didn’t attend college because, like Nigerian law, he thought it was a waste of time. He wanted to make money, to provide for his family. And he did. While I spent four years at the university, DJ was working tirelessly, every day, every hour, to build himself financially. He had various sources of income and was able to cater to the needs of his family. That was all he ever wanted. He worked hard for everything he got. Unfortunately, it was his death.

It was a Monday night, and DJ thought it would be nice to attend a party. I was never a party girl. Yes, I was an introvert. Deji always wondered how a “rich girl” like me was so quiet and reserved, contrary to the rich-girl image people had in their heads. I was just different, and yes, I liked the difference. He convinced me that the party wouldn’t be as bad as I made it seem. He was right; it wasn’t. Sure, there were heavily intoxicated, sweaty human beings around the house, and the stench of weed almost made me gag. But I was with DJ; it was worth it. It was past 10 pm when we left the venue of the party. 10:23, to be precise. He offered to drop me home because he knew that I was afraid to walk alone at night. We made a pit stop for Ganni, a mutual friend, to buy dinner from his favorite food outlet. Days had gone by, and I still had regrets about that night. If DJ hadn’t offered to drive me home, he would still be alive.

Once Ganni stepped back into the car, and we were ready to go, an officer arrived. He was dressed in a black shirt and dark blue jeans; his face entertained a scowl for an unknown reason. He had a badge in his jeans pocket. “Excuse me.” The angry man tapped on the car window. Deji turned to him with disgust written all over his face”. What?”. He spat out. “Step out of the car.” The man requested in a calm tone. My heart rate quickened. I had watched television shows that started off like that. The police officer instructs the driver, in most cases, a male, to come down, perhaps for a drug test or to ask questions. But it never went well. It eventually ends with a confrontation and someone dying. All I could hope then was that the angry man would leave us alone. That there would be no trouble.” Why?”. Deji inquired. “Bro...”. Ganni spoke up from the back seat. “Calm down, oh.” He advised.

My heart skipped a beat when the officer tapped on the window again”. I said come down from the car!”. He yelled,”. All of you!”. “But why?”. Deji asked the man again. Suddenly, the officer hit the car door with his foot, and I gasped. The man yelled louder”. Get out of the car right now!”. I spoke up gently to Deji”. Please, let’s go”. I begged him”. He has a gun, and please, I don’t want my parents to worry. Let’s just do what he says”. Deji rolled his eyes before unfastening his seat belt. I got down after Ganni did. Once Deji got down, the officer frowned and questioned him”. Why did you waste time? Do you think I’m joking with you?”. When he glanced at me, I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked at Ganni. The officer had this weird fiery aura surrounding him. Instantly, I developed a bad feeling about the night. “Because I didn’t see a reason to come down.” Deji answered with a shrug.” I don’t get it. What did we do?”. The officer glanced at me”. Who is she?”. “A Nigerian.” Deji scoffed in a sarcastic tone.” What else do you want to know?”.

“Don’t try that with me!”. The officer yelled at him. I shuddered immediately. He began to shout. I was beginning to get scared. “Who are you?”. The officer asked me. “Omotayo,” I answered with a shaky voice. “You don’t have a surname?”. He frowned. “Balogun,” I answered sharply. “You.” He pointed at Ganni.” What’s your name?”. “Ganni Yusuf.” He gave a quick answer. He was ready to cooperate with the man, unlike Deji, who had a challenging glare directed at the officer. The officer looked back at Deji”. Who’s the owner of this car?”. “I am.” Deji replied to him and crossed his arms.” Any problem?”. I understood why Deji was acting like that. He had been stopped by the police before, and he found it ridiculous that the officers would harass people for “weekend money.”

“What do you do?”. The officer asked him. Deji gave a quick retort”. Why do you want to know? Do you want to hire me?”. “Deji...”. I spoke up softly, wanting to appeal to him. “Shut up!”’. The man roared at me”. You don’t talk until I say you talk! I am in control here!”. He flashed his wide eyes in my face. I nodded and glanced away”. Yes, sir”. Ganni whispered to me,”. Just chill...”. The officer looked back at Deji, asking again,”. So, what do you do?”. “I want a sensible answer this time around.” He pointed out and stood in an akimbo position.

Deji sighed, giving in”. A graphic artist. Basically, I design posters, cards, and all of that”. “A graphic artist with a Lexus SUV?”. The officer chuckled then asked,”. What phone do you use?”. “Bring out your phone!”’. He then ordered with a loud tone”. All of you!”’. I explained in a quavering tone,”. I-it’s in the car”. “Get it now!”. He yelled,”. Now!”. I quickly moved toward the car’s front seat and pulled out my bag. “In fact, bring out the bag.” He changed his mind.” Let me see what else you people are hiding. “Do you have a laptop in the car?”. He asked, and I answered”. No”. I began to wonder if I had anything incriminating inside my bag. He yanked the bag from my hand once I stepped out. “Don’t worry.” Deji muttered to me. He was perfectly aware that I was scared. I sent him a nod as the man rummaged through my bag.

He came across my phone and asked me,”. What do you do that you have an iPhone 11?”. I answered shakily again”. I have an online clothing store”. “You sell clothes, and you have this?”. He chuckled humorlessly, holding up the device”. Do you think I am stupid?”. That was when Deji released a scoff. I wish he hadn’t done that. The man faced him”. What did you just do?”. The officer further asked him,”. What phone do you use?”. “I have an iPhone too.” Deji answered.” I’m sure you want to ask if I do internet crime, right?”. That was what this was clearly about. This police officer was definitely from the SARS department of the police. The Special Anti-robbery squad, whose specialization was internet crime, robbery, and kidnapping.

The internet scam crime was popularly called “Yahoo-Yahoo.” It was very rampant in Nigeria. The crime had graduated to something higher, called “Yahoo-plus,” which was the use of traditional and mystical powers to charm potential victims into their scam. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, ‘Yahoo plus-plus emerged. The fraudulent act involved the use of their victim’s body parts and personal belongings and kidnapping for rituals. The police believed that the individuals that engaged in this crime belonged to the age bracket of “22-29”. I guessed that’s why the officer was on our case.

Deji continued to talk”. Well, my answer is no. I am not a yahoo boy. I worked hard for everything I had. I am not involved with such crimes, neither of us is”. He gestured to Ganni and me. “Don’t talk to me like that!”. The man snapped”. I have every right to tell you to get out of the car and to question you!”. “Why?”. Deji asked, then exclaimed,”. We weren’t doing anything!”. “With the young lady inside?”. The officer pointed at me”. You were doing nothing with her?”. “Now, you’re calling us rapists.” Deji shook his head, disappointed at what the man was trying to imply.” Why don’t you just open your mouth and say that you want something to eat tonight? You want money? We will give you, instead of pulling this little old stunt!”. By the look on the man’s face, Deji had crossed the line.

“Are you insulting me?”. The man got close to Deji’s face”. Are you talking to me like that?”.Deji didn’t back down and yelled back,”. That’s all you guys do! You take advantage of young people, disrespect them because you want money. Obviously, you want to extort us”. The officer turned around and yelled,”. Oya! we’ve found one!”. I turned around, seeing another officer approaching us. He was in a police uniform. I was beginning to sweat, and my hands were shivering. Things just got real. Ganni noticed my panting and put a hand on my shoulder”. Calm down, Tayo”. “Hey!”. The officer that had arrived yelled at him”. Don’t touch her again”. I watched as Deji exchanged words with the officer. It was no secret that Deji hated officers. First, he lost his father to police brutality when he was seven. Secondly, he was usually the police’s target. Some would say that Deji fits the profile of a ‘criminal.’ He had short dreads, he wore earrings, and he was a young 22-year-old who had an expensive car and phone.

Obviously, the officers thought he had something heinous and illegal going on. I wanted to assure them that Deji was super hard working and wasn’t a criminal, but I couldn’t. I feared that I might be gunned down. Deji and the angry officer were already exchanging words. It was getting heated. The other officer was watching Ganni and me. The confrontation had attracted the attention of people in the neighborhood. People were out, watching and making loud comments. A bystander had tried to help, but his efforts were turned down by the officer who threatened to take him in for being an accessory to a crime. Apparently, we were criminals now. “Put your hands up!”. The other officer ordered. Ganni didn’t waste time obeying. Shivering, I put my hands up”. We’re cooperating, please”. The officer snarled in my face”. Shut up your mouth! Don’t talk unless I ask you to!”. I heard Deji’s strained voice”. So because I have dreads and I have a car and an iPhone, I’m suddenly a yahoo boy?!”. “I work hard for my money!”’. He cried out. What followed after that paralyzed me. A series of gunshots were fired.

Ganni and I quickly exchanged looks. Both of us were unable to look towards the crime scene yet. We were terrified. Once Ganni glanced away from me, I followed his movement. Ganni’s mouth was left ajar. I knew what had happened. The officer got trigger-happy. I saw Deji’s body. His white shirt was tainted with blood. Ganni dropped to the floor, close to his friend’s body, and muttered:”. Deji”.

Everyone was surprised and expressed their feelings with shouts and cries. Some were even recording on their phones. The officer didn’t react. He just stood there while the other officer tried to calm the crowd down. I fell towards Deji’s body, crying and begging,”. Please, wake up!”. His eyes were shut; there was no form of movement. There was no way Deji could leave me like this. We had forever. He always promised me that.

One of the officers had dragged Ganni away from Deji’s corpse while I continued to shake Deji’s bloody body”. Please, please, please, please!”. I froze, staring horrifically at my blood-smeared hands”. Oh, no”. I whimpered. I felt sharp nails digging into my sensitive skin as someone pulled me away too. “No.” I tried to struggle away from his tight hold. “Stay, or I’ll shoot you!”. He yelled at me. And I cooperated; if not, my fate would be just like Deji’s. 

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