Over 50 folks, together with members of the province’s Nigerian group, stood in solidarity with the folks of Nigeria Saturday, calling for police reform and an finish to police brutality within the nation. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)
The group is one in all many around the globe protesting, following years of violence by the hands of the Particular Anti-Theft Squad, recognized in Nigeria as SARS.
“Through the years, there’s been numerous killings,” stated Jennifer Agu, president of the province’s Nigerian Scholar Affiliation. “The youth, the folks of Nigeria, we’re terrified of popping out to speak to the federal government to talk up for his or her rights. However I consider that there comes a time in historical past the place we’ve got to guard ourselves.”
“Sufficient is sufficient. Sufficient to police brutality, sufficient to creating our moms childless and our fathers childless.”
Tales of extortion by police in Nigeria are additionally not unusual, based on Agu.
“With ATMs … they cease you they usually take your cash,” she stated.
“If you do not have cash, they take your card. When you do not give them your card, they shoot you.”
“They do not give a rattling. They do not hear,” Agu added. “They assume they’re gods. We’re right here to remind them that we’re the those that put them there … we’ve got the ability, it is not the opposite means round.”
Somadina Muojeke left Nigeria three years in the past, and compares police brutality within the nation to present occasions in the US.
“You might be profiled on your coiffure, you’re profiled on your appears, you’re profiled for being younger, you’re profiled for having a tattoo, you’re profiled for having a dreadlock,” he stated.
“Those that have the ability to guard the folks, somewhat than defending the folks, they use that energy as a instrument of oppression to oppress the folks.”
Now dwelling in St. John’s, Muojeke stated it is exhausting to observe what’s going on in Nigeria whereas he’s so far-off. He wished to protest police brutality within the nation, but additionally push for methods to assist discover a resolution.
“[Being in St. John’s] provides me a way of safety. And on the flip aspect, it is odd to simply know that it is a web site that may be secure,” he stated.
“The [Nigerian] police is horrible in what they’re doing by way of defending the folks, however the police are additionally struggling,” he added. “Police should not properly paid. So this protest isn’t just about ending the police unit, it is about ending [SARS] and ending police brutality and funding the police.”
Earlier than arriving in Canada, Muojeke stated he had encounters with regulation enforcement whereas strolling on the street, together with one event the place he was threatened with a gun.
“Somebody simply moved out on the road with a gun, casually dressed … requested me to return over,” he stated. “On the finish of the day, it resorted to one thing you’d name ‘jungle justice,'” — referring to a type of extrajudicial justice the place an alleged felony is publicly humiliated or overwhelmed.
“The man stated he was going to shoot at me.”
Standing subsequent to the clock tower at Memorial College, Muojeke stated he hopes the over 50 folks in attendance and different members of the Nigerian group can take part requires police reform and an finish to police brutality within the nation.
“The folks have the ability,” he stated. “The federal government is nothing with out the folks, and the folks resolve how the federal government goes to rule them. We’re demanding for transparency, we’re demanding for accountability, we’re demanding so that you can shield us.”
“[People are] now not scared,” Jennifer Agu added. “I am very happy with our youth right here in St. John’s … I really feel content material that we’re lastly waking up.”