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Nigerian Police - Techies with Laptops Deserve Better

Today is Oct 1, our Independence Day. It should be a day to remind the Nigerian Police that arresting young men with laptops diminishes Nigeria. Many years ago, in a chartered vehicle, the Police in their usual needless searches “arrested my laptop” near Oshodi, unless I cooperate. Quickly, I dialed a number - and asked the sergeant to speak on phone. On the other side was a Deputy Inspector General of Police. They apologized, and offered to escort me (I declined); not many would be that lucky - and that is why we should speak up.

On Saturday, September 28, a Lagos based software Engineer, Toni Astor, narrated on Twitter, a bitter ordeal he had with men of the Nigerian Police in Ogudu area of Lagos State. His story reels on intimidation, brutality and extortion – a familiar trend that many tech guys in Nigeria can relate with.

Like the American robber who responded thus - “because that's where the money is''- when FBI asked why he robbed a bank, the Police do know that young men with laptops in Lagos earn good income. So, if you harass them well, the conversion rate is higher! That is unfortunate  and it must stop.

With the impressive array of technology talent that the nation is blessed with, they are not encouraged by the hostility of the system. It is no surprise, the recent brain-drain that is taking away our best talents. The youth need a safe space to flourish.

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