If anyone had told Ahmad Abdulrasaq, a resident of Ilorin, Kwara State, Northcentral Nigeria, he would be dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force without official notice, he would probably have reconsidered his choice of profession.
Abdulrasaq was excited when he was enlisted into the Force as an auto-electrical official in 2000.
But his prospects changed when he sustained an injury while on duty at the Area Police Command. In an interview with HumAngle, he explained that a muscle tear rendered him incapacitated and he was exempted by a doctor from strenuous activity.
One evening, the third day after he assumed duty, he and a sergeant, Abiodun, were asked to fill drums with diesel and then move them to the store. After some minutes of rolling down the drums, Abdulrasaq discovered one of them was leaking. To prevent wastage, he tried to lift it but collapsed under its weight. “That was the beginning of his travails,” he recalled.
“As I tried to lift it, I heard a terrible crack on my backbone which made me collapse,” he narrated. “The injury I sustained changed my entire story in the police force.”
He was taken to the Police Clinic, located at the state Police Headquarters in Ilorin for first aid treatment but, he said, the treatment only worsened his condition.
“To my surprise, the injection the doctor on duty gave me paralysed my two legs, I could not lift the legs for some days. After the treatment, I was asked to go home,” he said.
When he eventually decided to get proper medical treatment, he was asked to cough out about N350,000 for surgery on his back. At the time, Abdulrasaq said he was penniless and had to opt for local treatment while living on pain-relieving drugs prescribed by the doctor.
“It was my parent who took me to one local doctor because we didn’t have money to pay in order to get treated in a hospital,” he said.
He added that the prescribed drugs were expensive and he borrowed money from relatives and colleagues before he could afford them.
When the father of six who was a corporal at the time returned for duty, he was posted out as a driver.
While on the job, Abdulrazaq started experiencing severe backaches. After complaining, he was transferred to the Ilorin Area Command as a driver.
In December 2008, Abdulrazaq disclosed he had become a sergeant and had a disagreement with a commander at the police command, which he said led to his dismissal.
“I had an altercation with the Area Commander. His driver was sick that day so he asked me to substitute for his,” he recounted.
“There was no fuel in the car. So I was told to meet with the commander to collect money for fuel. But when I entered his office and told him there was no fuel, he got angry. He threw his phone at me and ordered that I should be locked. I pleaded with them that I had an appointment with my doctor at the state civil service hospital.”
He got a week’s excuse duty from December 29, 2009, to January 2, 2010. He said he could not return until January 25, 2010.
“I left for the clinic to get treated and was told I had one-week excuse duty which they refused to give to me until after three weeks. The police booked me absent through the weeks.”
When he got back to the command, Abdulrazaq said he was told he had been dismissed from service. His work-related items were collected and his salary was stopped.
But he did not succumb without a fight. He wrote to the Public Complaints Commission and the Police Headquarters to contest his dismissal, but his efforts did not yield desired results.
He has since relied on the goodwill of relatives to feed himself.
At a time he had resigned to fate, Abdulrazaq got a message from the management of Trust Guarantee Pension Limited. He was told he had savings with the pension company which, according to him, is still claimable. But he could not do so without a dismissal signal, a document that shows an officer is no longer in service.
He has written to the Commissioner of Police, requesting for the dismissal notice as he now wants to be officially disengaged from service to get his entitlement. Seven years after writing the letter, he is still waiting for the signal.
The father of six had submitted a petition to the Kwara State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on ENDSARS as his last resort to get justice. He appeared before the panel on Thursday, November 19.