Trigger warning: Police brutality
Despite Nigerians across the country, from all demographics, protesting their wanton persecution at the hands of the very people sworn to protect them, last year, insecurity in Nigeria still remains high. The violence in northern Nigeria isn’t declining, as we all bore horrific witness to during the December period, when over 300 school boys were kidnapped in Katsina. Down south, in Oyo state, the Fulani Herdsmen have been accused of perpetrating multiple killings, resulting in activist Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, calling for the eviction of the Fulani Herdsmen. In today’s news, his house has been burned down, in retaliation, it is suspected.
Yesterday evening in Imo State, the Nigerian Army are reported to have gone head to head with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)’s Eastern Security Network (ESN), a fatal clash that has led to the death of multiple local people in the Orlu local government area of Imo State, in what Social Media users are now calling the Orlu Massacre. Whilst in neighbouring Enugu, armed men wearing a uniform labelling them as the “CRACK SQUAD” were captured on video threatening and extorting locals. Even across state lines, the lack of police presence on these widely known danger zones that we call expressways – with their poor construction and sparse, if not non-existent, lighting – opens travellers up to kidnappers and bandits. This was the fate of one Twitter user, who used the #EndSARS hashtag to tell their story and bring attention to the fact that, all across the country, Nigerians are forced to live in fear, owing to the corrupt and inadequate security forces we must endure.
Video footage showing when Lagos state police task force allegedly killed an innocent youth going to work this morning in Oshodi area pic.twitter.com/rzQdlyCNJM
— Naija (@Naija_PR) January 26, 2021
Amidst the multiple dangers from militants in various pockets of the country, kidnappers crippling interstate travel, and local criminals who are emboldened by the police’s lackadaisical attitude to fighting crime, the Nigerian police force themselves, continue to count themselves amongst the dangers Nigerians face on a day to day basis. Last year October, Nigerians united in weeks of EndSARS protests, with the hope that the corrupt and violent police unit would be disbanded and brought to justice for their crimes. Instead, officers that had unjustly taken the lives of the citizens they were sworn to protect were shifted into a ‘new’ police unit, simply given a new uniform in which to carry out their unscrupulous crimes. The reform Nigerians were hoping to achieve still has not appeared, and unfortunately, this continues to cost us our lives.
This morning, the Lagos State Police Task Force allegedly run down a young bricklayer in Oshodi, in their pursuit of a danfo bus. Killing him instantly, the police are now allegedly withholding the victim’s body from his family, a cousin reports on Twitter, calling out the Lagos state governor as he describes the police’s threat to them with large weapons. Owing to an inadequate, ineffective, poorly trained and careless police force, another young Nigerian has lost their life.
Our call to EndSARS is more than a request to remove the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, but a demand that the very thread used to weave the blood-stained fabric of Nigeria’s poor governance be unwound with immediate effect. Yesterday afternoon, announcing that he has “accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service,” our President seemed to be finally taking our pleas seriously. We only hope that the newly instated defence chiefs will instigate the reform in Nigeria’s security sector that we are looking for, carrying out their duties diligently, justly and to the service of all Nigerian people.
I have also appointed new Service Chiefs, to replace the retired officers:
Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff
Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff
Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff
Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) January 26, 2021
Featured Image Credits: BBC