Members of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Nigerian neighborhood got here collectively in solidarity Saturday, demanding an finish to police brutality and the necessity for police reform within the nation.
The group is one among many world wide protesting, following years of violence by the hands of the Particular Anti-Theft Squad, recognized in Nigeria as SARS.
“Over time, there’s been numerous killings,” stated Jennifer Agu, president of the province’s Nigerian Scholar Affiliation. “The youth, the folks of Nigeria, we’re fearful 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 now have 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, in response to Agu.
“With ATMs … they cease you and so they take your cash,” she stated.
“If you do not have cash, they take your card. For those who 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 who put them there … we now have the facility, 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 america.
“You’re profiled in your coiffure, you might be profiled in your appears, you might be profiled for being younger, you might be profiled for having a tattoo, you might be profiled for having a dreadlock,” he stated.
“Those that have the facility to guard the folks, moderately than defending the folks, they use that energy as a software of oppression to oppress the folks.”
Now dwelling in St. John’s, Muojeke stated it is arduous to look at what’s going on in Nigeria whereas he’s so distant. He wished to protest police brutality within the nation, but additionally push for methods to assist discover a resolution.
“[Being in St. John’s] offers me a way of safety. And on the flip facet, it is odd to only know that it is a website that may be protected,” 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 aren’t effectively 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 legislation 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 legal is publicly humiliated or crushed.
“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 neighborhood can take part requires police reform and an finish to police brutality within the nation.
“The folks have the facility,” 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] 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.”
For extra tales in regards to the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales throughout the Black neighborhood — try Being Black in Canada, a CBC undertaking Black Canadians might be happy with. You may learn extra tales right here.
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