African-Americans in the United States are currently protesting the murder of George Floyd who was killed by a policeman after he kneed him in the neck for several minutes.
This brutal act is coming on the heels of the death of Ahmaud Arbery in February while he was jogging. He was shot to death by two white men in the neighborhood.
The death of Floyd has brought about strong reactions by black people across the world including Nigeria. For Nigerians police brutality is nothing new as innocent people too numerous to mention have been gunned down and tortured by trigger happy policemen.
At a glance, police officers in America and Nigeria may seem different but here are 5 similarities between the two of them that aids police brutality.
- Tool of Oppression – In America, the police force is used systematically to oppress not only the poor but the minorities such as African-Americans and Latin Americans. In Nigeria, the police force is used to oppress the poor and even the middle class. In both countries it is rare to see rich people end up being victims of police brutality.
- Mistrust Between Police & The People – In both countries, many people mistrust the police due to the simple reason that it is believed that police officers do not protect the masses but cater to certain individuals in the society. African-Americans and Nigerians do not believe they can get justice from the police which has created bitter mistrust and hatred between both parties.
- Little Or No Repercussion – This is not the first time an innocent black man has been killed by the police in America. After the outrage, the guilty party is usually given a light sentence or slap on the wrist. In Nigeria, after a few days people move on with their lives and we never get to hear what happened to the officer who killed an innocent person. Everyone moves on with their lives including the officers.
- War On Drugs and Organized Crime – Due to the war on drugs and organized crime in both countries, the police have had to be harsh in dealing with suspected criminals. Unfortunately, they end up torturing and killing innocent people who they think are suspects some of the time.
- Inadequate Training – While the American Police Force boasts of a system light years ahead of Nigeria’s, there have been strong criticisms that police officers do not receive adequate training in dealing with people who resist arrest. This had led to officers using excessive force in arresting people which many times leads to death. In Nigeria, police officers cannot boast of receiving standard training and that is why some of them end up killing suspects by accident.