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Onyema Udeze: How Irish police (Gardai) maltreated me, I want justice

My name is Onyema Udeze, a Nigerian. I was invited to speak at a global annual summit in Dublin on 7th September –

Onyema Udeze
Onyema Udeze

By Onyema Udeze

My name is Onyema Udeze, a Nigerian. I was invited to speak at a global annual summit in Dublin on 7th September –

I arrived in Dublin on the 6th of September with a short-stay visa valid for 90 days. Because I wanted to explore some career prospects in Ireland, I decided to stay back after the conference with a return ticket to Nigeria scheduled for early December.

I currently reside at the Dublin City Center in a hotel. So, on the 9th of October, I went for an afternoon walk and stumbled on some Nigerian guys in a garden close to my hotel. We exchanged pleasantries, and they decided to show me some parts of the city, as they had been here for several years.

Around 8 p.m., I decided to return to my hotel room and call it a day. I wanted to board a public transport – NX – passing by my hotel room. So, I stopped by the bus station. I met a black girl who I also exchanged pleasantries with. Beside here were two white girls, who said I was disturbing them. I didn’t pay much attention to the two girls.

The girl I exchanged pleasantries with took a bus before me as we were headed in different directions. So, I decided to sit on the metal bench there for a while before my bus arrived. The two white girls were sitting beside me again, and they said they didn’t want to see around them. I was like I was not even talking to you.

I don’t know if it was all planned, but the girls went to call two white guys. Next thing, I started receiving punches all over my face. I was not even fighting the guys. I was bleeding through my mouth, ear, nose, and eyes, yet people were busy observing the whole incident and did nothing.

Then, I discovered that my phone had gone missing. I eventually got hold of one of the guys and was furiously asking him to give me my phone when the police arrived. Upon sighting the police, the guy started calling me a rapist. The police could see that I was the one bleeding profusely. I was the one whose phone had been stolen. Yet, they tagged me as a criminal, molested me, took me to their station, and bundled me into a cell.

It was around 3 am they woke me up from the cell and asked me to sign a statement of apology. They had taken all their time to find what to incriminate me with and they couldn’t find anything. I insisted that I was not going to sign anything. Instead, they should do a proper investigation, recover my phone, and serve justice to the real criminals.

They refused. Forced me to sign the statements, and kicked me out of the station at past three in the middle of the night. I had to stay outside until morning, as I had not extended my hotel fee before I left the previous day.

Since I came to Ireland, the only way I move around is with Google Maps on my phone. The only way I pay for items is with Apple Pay on my phone. My Apple Wallet is tied to the Wise banking system, which is the only temporary banking system that works for foreigners here. In the Wise App, I have a two-factor authentication to approve everything via the mobile app.

What all this means is that without my phone, I cannot move around, as I use Google Maps to guide me around. Without my phone, I cannot purchase anything, as I need to approve any online transaction via Wise App. For physical purchases, I pay with Apple Pay – also on my phone.

Since after that incident, the only thing I eat is the breakfast I get served in my hotel. I only renew the hotel through the Airbnb App, and the weekend booking is done manually at the reception, and I typically do that via Apple Pay. Now, I find it impossible to do the manual renewal until I get a phone. I had tried to trace the phone via iCloud, but it has been switched off since after that incidence.

All these means that I have been stranded, starving, and risking becoming homeless in a foreign country, just because the Irish Police refused to offer an objective investigation when they arrived at a crime scene. They tagged me as a criminal and dehumanized me, making me go through so much horror and pain.

Please, I demand justice and compensation for the damages this incident has caused from the Irish Government and Police. The police have been so slow to respond to the case. To make matters worse, some eyewitnesses recorded the incident and are circulating it on different social media platforms, calling me all sorts of names. That is defamation of a character I have spent so many years building.

I need the real criminals to be brought to book.

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