A protector is someone who protects or guards by assignment or on their own initiative. A protector’s presence simply means safety of lives and property.
This is the reverse in my country, Nigeria! Innocent lives are cut down in their prime by those whose duty is to protect them. They are killed on flimsy excuses ranging from not stopping when flagged down, to refusal to part with ‘something for the boys’.
The killings are endless and worrisome as it is always business as usual for both the Police Force and the government both at the state and federal level. These beastial killings are only ‘condemned’ and nothing more as the families of these slain individuals wait for years for justice to be served and for the unlucky ones, the deceased loved one is labelled either a criminal or a member of a proscribed group. It has gotten to that point where Nigerians are frightened when approaching police checkpoints rather than armed robbers in their neighbourhood!
The following and many others not listed here believed in the saying that ‘The Police is your friend’ and consequently, paid with their lives.
On December 25, 2022, a cop attached to the Ajah Police Station, Lagos, shot dead a 41-year-old pregnant lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, under the Ajah Bridge, in the presence of her husband. Raheem, her sister, and four children were said to be coming from an eatery in their car around 11am when the cop shot at their vehicle, putting an end to a life and ambition nurtured over the years.
Buraimoh was killed at about 10pm while coming out of SkyMall on December 7, 2022 by a police inspector attached to the Ajah Police Station, Lagos. The shooting that led to Buraimoh’s death occurred during a raid of sellers of black market fuel at the Ajiwe gas station by the police.The cops attempted to impound a black marketer’s fuel but he allegedly resisted. ‘His resistance angered the officers who started shooting indiscriminately’, narrated Buraimoh’s brother, Muyideen.
Igwe Odinaka and Chikere Obieche
The duo of Odinaka and Obieche were two businessmen killed on April 24, 2022, by a drunk cop at a friend’s birthday party in a hotel bar at the Gowon Estate in Lagos State.The two businessmen who were dealers in phone accessories at the Ikeja Computer Village were hit by gunshots from a cop said to be showing off and trying to impress the birthday host when mistakenly fired gunshots into the guests who were dancing. Despite the promise of the Lagos police spokesperson that ‘those responsible will not go scot-free’, the promise didn’t see the light of the day.
On January 22, 2022, Durowaiye was killed by a cop whose N20 sachet water he drank in Kogi State. An eyewitness revealed that Durowaiye was alleged to have taken a sachet of ‘pure water’ belonging to the policeman from the latter’s car to drink before he met his untimely death. Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Edward Egbuka, confirmed the incident, saying a preliminary report from the Area Commander indicated that the accused cop only tried to defend himself when he had an altercation with the victim. The killer cop was not revealed.
Obhafuoso was killed by a cop on August 13, 2022 during the burial of his master’s late mother in the Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State. While the victim was reportedly doing a video recording of the party and assisting his master to gather the money being sprayed on him, the policeman allegedly fired gunshots which hit a cameraman and Obhafuoso, who was pronounced dead at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.
Oliver Ezra Barawani
Barawani, a graduate of Taraba State University, was driving with his boss, Liu, a local government chairman, before he was killed by a policeman on June 4, 2022. Oliver Ezra was brutally killed for nothing. He was driving alongside the Executive Chairman of Lau LGA between Lakaviri and Jalingo. He was unarmed, innocent, and calm. He was shot by a police officer at a checkpoint in Kpanti Napo, near the city of Jalingo.
Adedeji, a journalist, was covering a protest when he was shot by a trigger-happy policeman in Osogbo, Osun State, on May 23, 2022. A group of youths converged on a bridge in the Olaiya area of the city on April 11, 2022, to protest against the alleged extrajudicial killing of a youth by a policeman.
The protesters reportedly blocked the road and prevented vehicular movement, chanting protest songs and demanding justice for the victim whose funeral was being performed. Cops reportedly stormed the scene and shot into the crowd and journalists covering the protest in order to disperse them. Pathetic!
Uwalaka, a National Diploma Civil Engineering student of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, was shot on July 11, 2022, by a policeman attached to the Nekede Police Division. Uwalaka was said to be returning from church that Sunday afternoon when the cop shot at him with the bullet hitting the student’s hostel (BenJen lodge) gate in Umuokomoche, Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State. The Police Force did not release any press statement on the incident.
Recently, the youths in Asaba staged a protest through Nnebisi to Okpanam Road, Asaba, Delta State capital, on Wednesday the 5th of April following an alleged killing of a man by a police officer. The incident happened along Ugbolu-Illah road at a stop-and-search point. A member of the police team on duty was said to have shot at the deceased’s car due to his refusal to stop at the checkpoint. The victim was identified as Onyeka Ibe. Eyewitness accounts revealed that Ibeh was shot in the head by a member of police stop-and-search team on duty on the Ugbolu-Illah Road for refusing to part with N100.
It was gathered that the police officer claimed that the deceased was a yahoo boy.The suspect, Inspector Obi Ebri attached to the Area Command, Asaba, later explained, ‘This afternoon, we embarked on township patrol on Illah road where we were doing stop and search. I heard a voice from about 10, 15 kilometers, hold him, hold him. Before I could turn, the young man used his left hand to ruffle rifle noozle and said I will kill you and go with your rifle’. Onyeka was reportedly shot in the presence of his pregnant wife with his car veering off the road.
How could that scene explain struggling with the policeman’s riffle?
Onyeka’s case is heartbreaking, considering the fact that he recently got married and was looking forward to seeing his first child. The mother is someone I usually buy things from in Asaba in the Infant Jesus axis, herself being a widow who recently lost her husband.
These lives are cut down in their prime without a second thought by these security agents turned agents of death! It might just be my turn tomorrow and what allegation will the police officer responsible trump up against me?
These killings reflect the rot in the society; the worrisome level of corruption! How these killer officers find their way into the police is a question that has remained unanswered. It has never even been put forward. Perhaps, this is the question that is needed to take us through the path of sober reflection and maybe, just maybe, give us an insight to a lasting solution. Until this is done, the killings will continue and when you pass through a police checkpoint alive, without the youths taking your lifeless body through the streets in protest, give thanks to God for a life preserved!
Omijie wrote from Asaba, Delta State