Black Lives Matter In Nigeria Too! – Tony Ogunlowo

black lives matter in nigeria

Oct 8, 2016 – Black Lives Matter In Naija Too! – Tony Ogunlowo #blacklivesmatterinnaijatoo

Recently there has been an international uproar at the number of black people being shot dead by the police in America. The situation has become so bad that an organisation called ‘Black Lives Matter’ has been set up to draw awareness to the problem. Endorsed by a number of top black American celebrities the group is working hard to prevent further extra-judicial killings through peaceful protests.

Far away from the shores of America, and the attention of the world media, the same thing is happening in Nigeria too: trigger-happy policemen – mostly SARS operatives – are shooting and killing innocent people on a daily basis.

In most recent months well-documented cases of extra-judiciary killings by the police include:

  • Two workers were shot dead by the police at a rally in Nasarawa state in July.
  • Two protesting youths killed in Umomi in Kogi state in August.
  • Lagos SARS mistakenly kill a 20-year old student while chasing a suspected fraudster in September.
  • In September, the blogger Chukwuebuka Isidore, better known as Ghostmode, was shot dead by the police in Port Harcourt.

These are just a few cases that are documented and mentioned in the press, many others go unreported with only the families of the deceased knowing they’ve lost a loved one. Sadly there is no justice for the victims or their families as the guilty police officers are very rarely reprimanded. There will be no inquiry; no court trial and most offending officers are back on the streets within hours.

Most notorious for extra-judiciary killings is SARS – the Special Anti-Robbery police Squad – set-up to combat violent crime. Adequate firearms training is not given to police officers who carry guns and further psychological tests would reveal that a great many of them are not mentally fit to be in possession of a firearm – there are even unconfirmed reports that many of them operate under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

In other countries extra-judiciary killings by the police are taken very seriously but not in Nigeria where their superiors tend to turn a blind eye.

How can people have faith in the police when they know they’re likely to be shot dead for refusing to give a trigger-happy policeman a bribe? And the police, themselves, knowing they’ll never be prosecuted will carry on killing innocent civilians. And it’s not just shooting people they’re guilty of; because they wear a uniform they seem it fit to beat innocent people to a pulp, punishing others – kicking, punching and torturing – in ways one would not expect a police officer to behave.

A recent Amnesty International report entitled: ‘Nigeria: You have signed your death warrant’ points out that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) are ‘…subjecting people to horrific torture methods including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions..’ whilst at the same time getting rich by extorting bribes. Armed with guns they become a law unto themselves and use their weapons with impunity. The question on everybody’s lips is how long are they going to go on killing innocent people before the government steps in to do something about it.

The police in their defence will probably argue that there are a lot of armed hardened criminals out there that need to be dealt with properly hence the reason to use lethal force and weapons. This understandable if they’re dealing with armed robbers but not unarmed civilians. If they can’t shoot straight, and are always hitting bystanders, they should be taught how to and if they can’t see properly perhaps they need to take eye tests – there is a big difference between an armed and unarmed person!

But yet again the Nigerian Police are well known for their legendary use of excessive force (- and abuse) when dealing with anyone they deem to be a suspect.

Everybody is innocent until proven guilty and killing people at random doesn’t constitute justice – it’s an unlawful killing whichever way you want to look at it. Armed police should be trained to use their weapons wisely – returning fire only when fired upon is understandable but shooting – dead – unarmed civilians is not a tolerable behaviour in a supposedly civilized society. Beating up people for minor misdemeanours or refusal to give bribes is not also an acceptable behaviour.

Most Nigerians support and follow #blacklivesmatter in America, condemning the deaths of innocent black people over there, but what about what’s happening on your own doorsteps? They do say charity begins at home. Perhaps it’s time to start a new movement in Nigeria – #blacklivesmatterinnaijatoo!

11 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter In Nigeria Too! – Tony Ogunlowo

  1. Why are d blacks treated like slaves, even slaves are human that has blood running through their veins, feels pain and worthy of enjoying too. So y d ill treatment? #sob

  2. but Nigeria is black national and not Multi racial nation like that of USA,UK, South Africa, am sure this pple just want to be seeing. they never protested against Fulani herds men killing innocent people, crime been committed against women, Tribal, Religious killings. Not Black killings as if there is white people

    • I agree with you. The police or any other person or group of citizens do not have the right to kill innocent people, but have the marchers protested against the Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and other killers wreaking havoc on Nigerian society? Furthermore, do the marchers believe that there is much support among Afro-Americans for the killings going on in Nigeria? And what of the killing of police officers by hooligans? Black Lives Matter are hypocrites and will remain so until they protest the loss of all innocent lives.

  3. Nothing good comes easy…its a peaceful protest so there is no need for any panic…well said mr ogunlowo

  4. Your article was indeed well written and compiled.

    The fact is,Nigerian forces is one of the worst in the world known for their bad record in terms of their viciousness,ferociousness,fierce and brutality against the people they are suppose to shield,safeguard and defend from enemy attack. Operations of SARS and police forces in nigeria generally are embarrassing. They normally breach all legal procedure for arrest and detention. Normally any one accused of crime is entitled under the law to be presume innocent until it is proved otherwise after a fair trial by an independent tribunal or court. But on the contrary,our police forces in the country have been secretly detaining suspects indefinitely,manhadling and torturing suspected criminals without giving them the opportunity of appearing in the court and given justice.

    In fact since the practise of protracted military rule in nigeria that had seen a lot of use in leather force against civilian population,many had prayed for the advent of democracy in our country. Unfortunately,ever since the establishment of ‘democratic’ regime,their have been unaccountable incidents of politically motivated assassins,thuggery and banditry. The menace of armed rubbery attacks,kidnappings and other violent crimes has become phenomenal and have gone unabated without the intervention of our security forces. It is indeed a significant shame and dangerous lapses on the part our security operatives to continually protect our top politicians while we have teachers,students kidnapped right in the midst of assembly in their school premises without any intervention from our security agencies!

    Beyond reasonable doubt,Our security agencies have truly shown their inability to protect lives and property order than the taking of lives of many nigerian civilians they are meant to protect. The scale of brutality and barbaric killings of civilians has made them ineffective rather than effective. In some instances,extra judicial killing have been perpetrated by governments themselves. Many of the allegations leveled against our government regarding their involvement in extrajudicial killings have been strongly denied by them. That is why you will never find out how MOSHOOD KASIMAWO ABIOLA died mysteriously. That is why you will never find out in what manner and how FUNSHO WILLIAMS met his untimely death. Obviously,our government has the blood of the innocents ones stained on their hands.
    And that is why you will never know why many criminal police officers have been engaging in extra judicial killings,torture,rape,forceful extortion at nearly every opportunity,summary execution of persons accused of crime with impunity without the intervention of our government.

    What is even more worrisome and disturbing is that,Nigerian government has acknowledged this problems and has promised to address them in the past,but to date,abuses of civilians by the corrupt security forces have gained more strength and continued without any accountability.

    If the safety of nigerian citizens matters to our government,then our leardership should pay thorough attention to police reform. And that reform should come from the top. The change and reform should come from the higher authority in the police forces. It is only by then,can we witness such a change in the lower level. Since police is the face of the government in any democratic society, the nigerian government need to ensure their is severe punishment for any police officer found guilty of the heinous acts of extra judicial killings. The nigerian top politicians should stop sharpening up there mouths to condemn the unjust killings of blacks in the US while their home is on fire by their criminal security agencies.

    @Ogunlowo don’t let me end up writing another article. My anger boils from the overall assessment of our security apparatus in the country in connection with the lives our innocents nigerians. Thanks for your article and God less you.

  5. You can just imagine the news coming in from abuja describing how (DEPARTMENT OF STATE SECURITY) DSS went on the rampage mercilessly attacking and beating up some judges of the supreme court. And how there house were pillaged by the security officers using sledge hammers to break into one of the judges home beating up his sibling.

    Governor Nyesome Wike in his own state had to stop an alleged attempt by men of the DSS to abduct a judge at his number 35/84 B residence,forces avenue,port harcourt.

    For heaven sake! why is it that our police in Nigeria keep turning themselves to bunch of outlaw bandits,thugs and scofflaws? Why are DSS,SARS and other security agencies taking and assuming the role of accuser,judge,prosecutor and the executional all at ones? And why should security agencies whose primary function is to guide and protect us in the country subject people to beating,torture,abduction and forced disappearance of individuals? If the lives of our judges does not matter to our police officers anymore in nigeria,then the rest of us can only pray for God’s protection.

    Many critics of the current administration and an increasing number of people are beginning to suspect if the security agencies in the country are not been used by the government to witch hunt and carry out arbitrary arrest of our judges in the country. If that happens,then we are gradually sliding into the state of anarchy with no hope of feeling the impact of our democracy.

  6. My co-commentators has said a lot. With a peaceful protests and hope in God will make whole lots of differences.

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