Ayo Sogunro, a Nigerian lawyer and activist, has shared the story of how he ended up spending a night in a police cell in Abuja after a married female friend visited him in his hotel room. In a detailed Twitter thread on Wednesday, Sogunro explained that he had arrived in Abuja for a human rights meeting and had informed some of his friends about his presence.
According to his account, his female married friend (whose name he withheld) was the first person to visit him at the hotel. Shortly after her arrival, the police showed up at his door. Sogunro tweeted, “She was the first to get to my place. I had checked into the hotel around 6:20 p.m., and she got there around 6:40 p.m. Barely 15 minutes later, three police officers came to my door.”
Despite his refusal to grant them entry, the police officers pushed their way in, asserting their authority without a warrant or valid reason. When they noticed his friend, they demanded that she accompany them. Sogunro and his friend questioned the rationale behind this, to which the police responded that a married woman should not have been in a hotel room with him. Eventually, after numerous arguments, Sogunro and his female friend decided to follow the police to the station.
At the police station, Sogunro declined to provide a statement without the presence of a lawyer, as he was still unaware of the charges against him. However, the Divisional Police Officer explained that they were operating under the Penal Code, which deems it suspicious for a married woman to visit a man, justifying the police officers’ intrusion into his room without a warrant.
“After a while behind the counter, they called me for an interview with the DPO. I was still quite upset at this disruption of my day—and all this started barely one hour after I had landed in Nigeria and entered Abuja,” Sogunro stated. He then proceeded to address the various wrongdoings committed by the police, including arresting him before investigating the situation, involving the police in what seemed to be a marital issue unrelated to him, forcefully entering a hotel room without a warrant, and detaining him without clear charges.
Sogunro confronted the DPO, questioning the evidence that an offense had even been committed. Following a lengthy discussion, he was taken to a cell where he spent the night. Reflecting on the experience, Sogunro remarked, “The night behind bars was philosophical. Later, I was more amused than angry. The idea of coming to do a human rights event in Nigeria only to end up in a cell was a hilarious and tragic testament to the Nigerian condition,” concluding his account.