I preferred EndPoliceBrutality to EndSARS for certain reasons. I knew from experience that almost all units and cadre of officers were abusers and felt that focusing on a section won’t deal with the matter. Nevertheless, that struggle is needed as they are all officers. I also preferred a different approach to tackling Police Brutality to Protest Marches because of precedents. My priority was safety which I knew this government couldn’t and wouldn’t provide. I can only willingly die for a country that values me and when I am sure that my death will yield desired change. In the absence of that, I do my best while ALIVE.
I have witnessed too many incidents of police victimization that I had to teach myself restraint and patience. For rape survivors, I had to institutionalize escort services because the police can never be fully trusted to adhere to professional standards of operation. This poor work ethics of police officers is systemic issue and it is why it has become recurring subject.
Yes, we sometimes read the gory stories but in truth, Police Officers on a daily basis simply do not do their jobs. They just don’t assimilate the fact that they are paid to do the job but rather exhibit a stupid ego of them doing citizens favours by showing up at their place of work. Trainings help a little but many of them jettison trainings because they know that their system is designed to cover their crimes. This fuels impunity and make them do and undo.
Few days ago, I saw news about a young man killed by police officers in Benin-City. Yesterday night, I read report of the Soldier who assaulted an NYSC Corp member. This morning, I read about the murder of a young man by police officers in Uyo. There are many more …
I took time during the #EndSARS Protest to read reports of Police victimization. I also tried to follow up with stories that were presented in the various judicial panels of inquiry. Sadly and unfortunately, I still read similar reports till date The multi-hydra monster is still with us and we are yet to adequately strategize how to deal with it. It is good that we have identified this monster (Police Brutality), we however now know that it is actually – Law Enforcement Officers Brutality – as it is not limited to Police alone.
We can argue that ordinary citizens of this country are wicked to one another and use that as inference to the inhumane behaviour of our law enforcement officers. However, the officers OWE us more. These officers owe us respect, and professional discharge of duties. That uniform they wear should make them to be accountable as the uniform is symbolic. The Police is to protect lives and properties but our officers do opposite of their mandates.
How can a lawless officer enforce law?
How can an inhumane officer protect citizens?
How can irresponsible officers take responsibility for their actions and inactions?
How can corrupt officers be accountable?
How do we change a criminal justice system that institutionalize injustice and structurally promote impunity of criminal actions ?
Equality brings Development which in turn brings PEACE.
Priscilla Usiobaifo is the Executive Director of BraveHeart Initiative (BHI), Igarra, Edo State.