In Nigeria, policing has long been turned into an instrument of terror, causing great harm and injury to innocent people who are supposed to be protected. In particular, police brutality against peaceful Free Zakzaky protesters has long been emblematic of the inhumane and senseless. The brutality of the Nigerian police force is impossible to be justified, no matter the level of insensitivity; to say nothing of police cruelties to other police officers, the like of DCP Usman Umar Belel.
What excuses or alibis have the police got for killing or injuring protesters who simply call for the immediate and unconditional release of an oppressed personage the Nigerian Army had traced to his residence, spraying him and his wife with bullets, slaying his three sons before his naked eyes, eliminating over a thousand of his followers, dragging him on the gory corpses of the murdered sons, setting his residence afire and demolishing it anon?
The campaign of illegal detentions, illegal destruction of properties, illegal extortions, illegal torture, illegal harassment and illegal executions of Sheikh Zakzaky’s supporters can never be condoned by any civilised society, and should not be overlooked here in Nigeria to boot.
Recall that on the 22nd of July, 2019 police operatives opened fire on Free Zakzaky protesters at the Federal Secretariat, maiming a lot and killing twelve (12) on the spot and later another three (3) died in FCT SARS detention center. Even the late DCP was killed in the line of fire by the bullets of his colleagues, the sole aim of whom was to frame the protesters whose only demand has been, and yet is, freedom for their leader Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah Ibrahim; according to the legal order by the supreme court of justice in Nigeria.
The shoot to kill doctrine of the Nigerian police when it comes to protesters has claimed many lives. Including Precious Owolabi, an apprentice journalist with Channels TV, who was executed for recording police crimes.
Despite the Federal High Court judgement delivered by Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, the Police are still detaining eight (8) corpses of Free Zakzaky protesters at National Hospital and Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja. It was so bloody a massacre that almost all survivors merely escaped by the skin of their teeth.
However, killing and injuring so many people on the march did not seem to have bothered the police as well-armed policemen in vans raided one of the hospitals to which a lot of the victims had been taken and admitted in, and even started receiving treatment, some medical and others surgical. They carted them away and dumped them at SARS headquarters, now SWAT, where they were beaten and tortured within an inch of their lives.
To date 8 families are yet to bury their fathers, brothers and sons. These 8 people who were executed by the police are not only dead, they are also hostages.
Despite police’s preposterous defence of the atrocious transgressions and their dilly-dallying on issues necessitating quick and urgent response or action, their killing of the journalist Alex Ogbu early this year has further exposed their complicity in numerous crimes, their dealings with fellow citizens, an inimical handling of issues indeed. It is really sad the police have assigned to themselves the right to decide whom to drop dead or continue to inhabit planet earth.
If the constituted body of persons empowered by the state to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citizens through its enforcement of law and order, ends up being at the forefront in the practice of anything antithetical to their oath of duty and tradition, know that the country is already gradually sliding into the slough of despair and misery.
The brutalities of the police and military will not at all deter us from demanding the release of our leader who has been sick and in detention for almost half a decade now. Either he is free or we are in the Abuja ways and streets in our relentless calling for and pursuit of his freedom.
While urging the Nigerian youth to keep on calling for the end of injustice, Police and Military brutality, we are demanding for unconditional release of our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H).
For Academic Forum of the Islamic movement
20th October, 2020