EditorialBolanle Raheem: When Will Police Brutality Stop?

Bolanle Raheem: When Will Police Brutality Stop?

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The killing, last Sunday, of a young and promising Lagos lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, by yet another trigger-happy policeman right in broad daylight is not only sad but condemnable. The Christmas Day shooting of the upcoming realtor, who had bright prospects for herself and her family, unfortunately, took the joy of the season away from many Nigerians, especially friends and family members as well as business associates of the Lagos lawyer.

It is not only sad but painful as well that all the dreams, plans and hopes the deceased had for the New Year and the future came crashing like a pack of cards with a single bullet from a careless and heartless cop. More tragic is the fact that the mother of one was expecting twins. In essence, the police man had, by his action, terminated three lives: the lawyer and her unborn twins.

The sad incident, which happened in the Lekki-Ajah axis of Lagos, was not the first on that spot as a young man was also said to have been killed by a police bullet around the area just two weeks before the Christmas killing.


The unfortunate incident has brought to the fore, once again, the sad experiences of many Nigerians, which led to the nationwide protests against police brutality over two years ago in what has become known as the ENDSARS protests. The spontaneous protests which rocked the country to its very foundation were crushed by the authorities with fatalities recorded across major cities in the country.

Despite all the promises made by the Federal Government to reform the police and stop the brutality against innocent Nigerians by men and officers in uniform, the latest incident is just another evidence that nothing has really changed. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has continued to demonstrate sheer intolerance to sincere and genuine criticisms despite consistent calls for real reforms of the police in Nigeria.

It is rather amusing that the same government that has refused to do the needful but would rather apply brute force to suppress peaceful demonstrations by Nigerians is now in the forefront of the condemnation of the recent incident. More annoying is the reported decision of a section of the National Assembly to probe the incident as the failure of the lawmakers to initiate laws that would have stopped police brutality has in fact contributed to this incident.

Rather than playing to the gallery with the purported probe that would lead nowhere, the lawmakers should up their game and promulgate laws that would guarantee more protection and safety of lives and property for the average Nigerian.

The unfortunate killing of another innocent Nigerian, sadly on a Christmas Day, is an eye-opener to everyone that it is not yet Uhuru for the policing system in Nigeria. Practical reforms, rather than mere rhetorics and grandstanding, are what Nigerians need at this point in time, and urgently too.

We align with all the condemnations so far, though that would not bring back the dead, they have all gone to show that Nigerians are more united in the call for more discipline in the handling of guns by policemen in the line of duty. We also call for the authorities not to sweep this case under the carpet and ensure that justice is not only served but seen to have been served by giving the prosecution the urgency it deserves.

We reaffirm our belief that the life of every Nigerian really matters and every Nigerian has the right to life. Nothing should therefore be done to infringe on this right to life.

While we commiserate with the family, friends and associates of the deceased, especially her husband, daughter and aged mother, we pray that God will give the late Bolanle Raheem eternal rest. We also hope that such acts of police brutality and callousness will not happen in this manner as we step into the New Year.

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