"Can you please follow us to the station to answer a few questions?" The Caucasian campus policeman asked me. A rhetoric question, he wasn't expecting me to refuse his request. Besides, nothing is wrong in answering a few questions at the station especially if you're sure you've not committed any crime.
It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon on June 12, 2001 and I wasn't about to remember it for the special holiday it was known for in Nigeria. I was busy with my daily work routine at my office at 50 Devon Court, Edwardsville Illinois, USA. My internet company, textbooks4less.com was just 9 months old when I heard the sound of the office bell. The policeman coincidentally happened to be one of my friends on campus.
Somewhere in my heart, I sensed this day would come; I just didn't know it was going to be that soon. Without being given an opportunity to shut down my Dell desktop and finish my work in the office, I escorted the courteous policemen to their station downtown Edwardsville.
Sitting nervously in the station, different scenes in "LAW & ORDER" played in my head. It was as if I was about to act out different scripts I had watched in different episodes on tv. I was nervous. I was scared. And little did I know that I was about to end my legal residency in the United States of America.
Within hours I would discover that June 12 wasn't just the birthday of a special lady called LB..... It wasn't just a day to be associated with MKO Abiola..... It was about to go down as the day I would begin my 164 days in 4 prisons in the United States of America. It would go down as a Tuesday afternoon I would never forget for the rest of my life.
I nervously eavesdropped as the 2 policemen that brought me in glanced through a couple of papers while simultaneously whispering to one another before approaching my table. I was nervous. I was scared. No one on earth knew at that moment that I was about to be placed in the custody of the United States government.
"Do you know anyone by the name Christopher Smith?" The courteous policeman asked me. With a heavy heart, I muttered that the name didn't ring a bell.
Glancing through the paper in his hand, he proceeded to ask if I knew 6 other names. At this point, my heart had gotten to my mouth......
.to be continued
(Photographer | Writer | Host, NIPHEC)
NB: This is Oluwaseun Akisanmi's non-fictional account of a journey from PRISON to PHOTOGRAPHY. It promises to enlighten you and challenge you to live a life of purpose, integrity and vision.
Feel free to rebroadcast!