#SARSMUSTEND Protests: How Many More People Will The Police Kill? By Seun Awogbenle

Heads down, this is a sad moment to be a Nigerian. For the first time since the return of democracy in 1999, I am not sure we have witnessed a more insensitive, intolerant and completely incompetent government.

The government at the centre led by President Muhammadu Buhari has not only demonstrated its cavalier disregard for the people of this country, his government has also proved again that it has no primacy for human lives or pretence to such particularly in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.

I will never understand the reason for the shameful attack, harassment, shooting and in some cases killing of unarmed protesters across the country whose innocent demand is for an immediate end to a killer unit within the police force (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) and a broader demand for an end to all forms of police brutality, oppression, intimidation and assault on the Nigerian people which has gone unabated.

To put it in clear and unambiguous terms, the action and response of the Nigeria Police to the #EndSARSprotests is not only despicable, it is shameful and unacceptable. It will never make sense to me how the policemen who are paid by the state to protect the people are the ones who are maiming and killing them for demanding public accountability. SAD!

Seun Awogbenle

In Ogbomoso on Saturday, a young man named Jimoh Isiaka was killed in cold blood, his only offence was that he joined other compatriots to demand for an end to Police brutality particularly the ones perpetrated by the notorious and rogue unit in the Nigeria Police Force, Special Anti-Robbery Squad. God rest his soul!

Jimoh Isiaka, is one of the many young Nigerians who have lost their lives to a cause that is only aimed at repositioning the Nigeria Police force for greater efficiency in conduct, disposition and respect for human rights. I am certain that we will continue to remember Jimoh Isiaka for his bravery and courageous defence of his country in the face of tyranny and oppression, his story will continue to live through us.

Beyond the late Jimoh Isiaka, several other harmless protesters were also attacked in Ogbomoso by officers of the Nigeria Police, some of the protesters I understand sustained varying degrees of injury and are receiving treatment as I write this intervention, I am praying for their quick recovery.

My heart breaks, from Abuja, to Lagos to Abeokuta and every other part of the country, the story of the highhandedness, assault, shooting and eventual killing of protesters by the Nigeria Police is well documented and pronounced. It is everywhere on social and mainstream media. I am glad that the world is watching the level of egregious abuse of executive powers by state actors, we will never forget!

Just to be clear, freedom of protest, assembly and association is a constitutionally guaranteed right that is not negotiable or at the discretion of the state, the provision is instructive and unambiguous. Let it be known that under Buhari, the state turned against its people and unleashed untold horror on them, for merely protesting and fighting to secure their future.

For me, nothing will ever justify the current show of force against harmless Nigerians who are fighting for the soul of the country, this is nothing but state backed terrorism by the agents and instruments of state. Shame!

The records of the highhandedness and abuse of human rights by the Nigeria Police on the #EndSARS protesters who are made up of mainly young people is inexhaustible. Earlier on Monday, a yet to be identified protester was again killed by the police in the Surulere axis of Lagos, at a time another video showing some policemen assaulting, beating and humiliating two female protesters identified as Treasure Chiamaka Nduka and Felicia Okparaw was only just circulating.

On Sunday, protesters in Abuja were sprayed with hot water and tear gas canisters in the most obnoxious manner by the men of the Nigeria Police, that scene till now, remains one of most vicious and inhuman action I have seen in my life, the police even went as far as destroying the tyres of the cars of protesters, including that of my brother Demola Adeeko, who has been a major voice at the forefront of the protest in Abuja.

Some protesters were harassed and intimidated with arrest for protesting including my good brother Olu Onemola who was released almost immediately anyway, I consider that a violation of his right as well as other Nigerians who have been through similar harrowing experiences and I hope at the end there will be a coordinated lawsuit to make Nigeria Police pay for such flagrant abuse.

The demands of Nigeria’s young people are simple, we are asking for an end to the harassment, oppression, extortion and forms of brutality by the police. Nigerians particularly young people including this writer are tired of living in fear, we demand a policing system that is fair, accountable and civil in conduct and disposition.

In the event the police are unaware, Nigerian youth have decided to see this struggle to a logical conclusion by sustaining the protests, so I ask, how many more people will the police kill?

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