While the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officer, Derek Chauvin has become one of the world’s biggest headlines, Nigeria also continues its battle against police brutality. The latest case, the killing of 16-year-old Tina Ezekwe in Lagos was captured on video and has inspired Justice for Tina protests across the internet.
According to the BBC, Ezekwe was hit by a bullet on Tuesday 26th May at about 10:45 p.m when a reportedly drunk police officer shot to disperse a crowd that had gathered after he opened fire on a bus driver who refused to give him a bribe. Ezekwe was then rushed to the hospital where she received first aid and eventually passed on two days later.
According to Bala Elkana, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Force the policemen ASP Theophilus Otobo, and Inspector Oguntoba Olamigoke have been arrested and internal disciplinary proceedings have been launched. If they are found guilty, they will then be charged to court.
This is not the first case of police brutality we have seen as Nigerians. The initial response has been encouraging, but it is important, that the search for justice is thorough and goes beyond the performatives we are often subject to. Not too long ago, we all demanded justice after the death of Babatunde Ramon Adeniji at the hands of office Lukman Akanbi after Wizkid’s concert in December 2019. The last we ever heard in that instance was that Akanbi had been dismissed from the Nigerian Police Force. What came after that is a story nobody knows and it’s indicative of what often happens with cases of police brutality in Nigeria. Perhaps it is a function of the long and tedious court systems in Nigeria, perhaps it is borne from the media’s concern with only what matters right now. The bottom line though, the fire in our bellies often dies out and the story falls below the radar and our desire for justice must be more exhaustive.