Police Brutality in Africa: Paradigm of Nigeria And South Africa

Nigerian Police

Incessant Brutality from the police force who are meant to protect the people is becoming alarming now more than ever before which should be a concern to the world, not just the countries involved. This act of excessive use of force while carrying out their function of law enforcement could be as a result of abuse, use of power, exploiting, government influence and illiteracy of some force personnel which have sent many promising young lives to their early graves with little or no justice.   

However, the rationale of this article is to gather a few stories related to police brutality in Africa using Nigeria and South Africa as the focal point.

Patrick Egwu shared an article about a 20-year-old Chukwuebuka who was killed by police during a patrol, to disperse the young man playing football with his friends on the street of Nkpor town in Anambra, southeast Nigeria on April 15, 2020, during the lockdown. The police justified the killing by saying the patrol team acted in self-defence after being provoked and attacked by the young men when they tried to disperse them, on the contrary, his friends who witnessed the shooting said nothing of such happened.

Patrick added that during the first two weeks after the lockdown began on March 30, 18 people were killed extrajudicially by the police, according to the National Human Rights Commission.

Also, a 16-year-old Secondary school pupil, Tina Ezekwe was killed after a police bullet was fired in Lagos state the young girl was reportedly killed by a police officer who shot to disperse a crowd that had gathered after the shooting of a commercial bus driver who refused to pay a bribe.  

One of the stories that triggered Endsars protest in Nigeria was a video that showed a SARS officer shooting a young motorist Ughelli, in Delta State, then pushing his body out of the car and driving off with the dead man’s Lexus SUV.

Meanwhile, South Africa who has a harsh record of police brutality and sometimes public brutality also in past waves of xenophobic attacks. It was recorded that at least 10 people have been killed by security personnel enforcing the lockdown in the country, 40-year-old Collins Khosa of Alexandra township was killed when he was caught drinking during the lockdown.

In a report by Mail and Guardian, one Nathaniel Julius was killed outside his home in Eldorado Park by a police officer who shot the teenager in the head and chest. Not only was the teenager unarmed but also living with Down Syndrome, he was unable to respond to the question of the officer because his ability to communicate was limited.

Among these are many other cases of police brutality in Africa both known and unknown to the public which most times resulted in the death of the victims. For the case of Nigeria, this never-ending act was what resulted in the nationwide Endsars protest where some lives were also lost especially in the Lekki toll gate saga which equally generated further unrest. What could be the way out?

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