10.08.2021 Feature ‘Are You a Man or a Woman?’ — Police ‘Extort N85,000’ from Transgender Lady in Enugu

Published 10th Aug, 2021

By Tola Owoyele

Didiora Kambiri, a transgender lady, has accused some men of the Nigeria Police Force of harassing her while returning to her school in Enugu, Enugu State, from Onitsha, Anambra State.

According to Kambiri, the bus she boarded had been told to stop by four policemen at a checkpoint along Oji River, and with an instruction that all passengers should come down.

“The women were later asked to identify their luggage and return to the bus. However, the guys were searched one after the other,” she said in her tweet.

“When it got to my turn, the policeman that was conducting the search made a derogatory comment by asking whether I was a man or a woman. He then said I should move to one side because my case was different.”

She then said she tried telling the policeman that his remarks were insulting and derogatory but was told to keep her mouth shut.

“After searching the last guy, he turned to me and asked why I dressed the way I dressed, and why I had piercings and earrings all over my body.

“I simply told him that there’s nothing wrong in what I was wearing. This made him raise his voice and give me a slap. He then searched my bag and was disappointed when he did not find anything.”

She further stated that the policeman later demanded for her wallet and after bringing out all it contained (some ID cards and cash), he demanded to know where she was coming from.

“I told him that I went to Onitsha to get some of my cosmetics, slept over at a friend’s place and I was heading back to school. He then said Oga abi Madam, shut up! So na to go buy cosmetics you go Onitsha go do? You be woman? Na only you dey rub all these things?”

She further claimed the officer went back to going through her wallet a second time, comparing the names on her school ID to the one on her debit card.

“I told him that it is obvious that those are mine and that keeping me here was no longer necessary. This statement further made him angry and he gave me another slap, asking me if I wanted to teach him his job. While this was going on, some girls in the bus were busy cheering these criminals in uniform to go on and deal with me, saying it is people like me that are the problems we have in this country. They called me Bobrisky, waste of sperm, an abomination, Homo and transphobic words,” she lamented.

When he was done searching the wallet, the policeman allegedly demanded to see her phone. And when she was reluctant to hand it over, she got a third slap. What then followed was a struggle for the phone between her and the officer. This attracted the attention of fellow officers, who came around and started shouting at her to release the phone.

“The more I insisted on the fact that this was an infringement on my fundamental rights, the more slaps I got from all of them. There were four of them,” she said.

“When they saw that I was not ready to release my phone, one of them corked his gun and I froze.”

At this point, Didiora said because she could no longer endure the series of slaps being handed out by the officers, she released the phone.

“I gave them access to my phone and they went through my gallery. They saw mirror pictures of me and pictures of stages involved when taking hormonal drugs for someone transitioning. They asked questions but were also too dumb to know what it was all about.

“Thinking that I was already done crossing the bridge, they went to my WhatsApp. That’s where it all came crashing down. When they saw the ‘incriminating’ things that they had been looking for,they became more bold and more authoritative. So na this thing you dey do, they asked?”

She said the policeman ordered the bus driver to leave with the other passengers while they forced her into another vehicle, telling her they were taking her to the station.

She said they drove for close to 45 minutes, passing the police station they claimed they were taking her to, and further into lonely paths.

“We they finally stopped, I was asked how much I had on me. I told them that the money I had on me was my pocket allowance as a student and school fees, and that it wasn’t up to the N200,000 they were asking for.

“They said if I don’t have it, I should call those they saw me chat with on my WhatsApp, or better still, call the person I went to see in Onitsha. They also said they believe my visit to Onitsha no be ordinary eye.

Didiora stated that they further physically assaulted her before accompanying her to the nearest ATM machine.

“They first checked my account balance and saw that I had N65,000 in it. After withdrawing the money, they gave me back my wallet and told me to desist from my evil ways. They then brought out my bag from their vehicle and drove off.”

She went on to say that the money they had emptied from her account was meant for her hormonal treatments. She also claimed she did not know they had also taken the N20,000 she had in her wallet until later when she checked.

“All I can do for myself now is to be strong and try to build a positive hope for myself, that tomorrow will be better or even great. This is what I can tell myself in order to find closure,” she said.

Published 10th Aug, 2021

By Tola Owoyele


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