Nigerians Stunned Over Alleged Killing Of Two Boys By Police In Bauchi
With his rosary beads on hand, broken legs, shattered kneecaps and packets of pain killers by his side, Abdulwahab Bello, the only survivor of the three boys who the police arrested over allegation of stealing seven chickens narrated his ordeal to the BBC in Bauchi. According to the victim, the Divisional police officer (DPO) township station, hit him heavily and repeatedly with a pestle, a blow that left him in excruciating pain and with fractures on both legs. Ibrahim and the third victim also suffered bone fractures on their legs as Abdulwahab, but were not lucky to survive the DPO’s mortal blow on their chests and backs. Ibrahim instantly died on the bare floor of the police station, and his lifeless body, the mother, Hajara Ismail lamented, the police dumped under a tree in front of her house. The other boy, Abdulwahab told the reporter, made it to the hospital, but the doctors could not save his life. He also died on arrival.
We know the Nigerian police for notoriety. The public accuses the police of human rights violations ranging from brutality, extortion, torture and summary execution among other ills. Unfortunately, this is happening when the world is witnessing a barrage of protests against police brutality in major cities of the world. The last few months have seen an unprecedented demonstration across the world, including Nigeria, in solidarity with Black Lives matter protest in the United States following the killing of George Floyd by a policeman.
It is inconceivable that three human beings-young boys in their prime would suffer such ignominious treatment from agents of the state who are supposed to protect them. For God’s sake, how could the alleged theft of worthless 7 chickens valued at N14, 000 lead to the loss of human lives? Does this not depict our law enforcement agents as lawless? Does this not send the wrong signal that our policemen do not value and respect the lives of Nigerian citizens? With this impunity and disregard for civility and decorum, how will ordinary folk see the policeman as a friend? The police need the cooperation of the public to fight crime. They should therefore show an acute sense of responsibility in their dealings with fellow citizens.
There are more serious, more dangerous and hardened criminals who deserve such harsh treatment from the police. Unperturbed by the consequences of his wicked action, the DPO deliberately wasted those boys because he knew they were sons of a nobody. They are inconsequential. If they had stolen billions like the big thieves who have the wherewithal to buy their freedom, they would have possibly regained their freedom and left the police station unscathed.
Nobody supports thievery. In the same vein, there is no justification for killing someone accused of stealing without following due process. Those boys did not carry arms. They did not threaten the police or public peace and order. The police cannot be the prosecutor, the judge and the officer to sign the execution warrant. There are lawbreakers as diverse as kidnappers, bandits, rapists and white-collar criminals whose crime is more harmful to the individual victims and to the economy of the nation. These are the criminals whose action lives a permanent dent on their victims. They are also the reprobates we want the police to wipe away from our communities.
It is our hope and prayer that the police commissioner in Bauchi state will do a proper investigation in this case without fear or favour. He should ensure that justice is done to the deceased and the surviving victim of this callous act of lawlessness. Nigerians speak with one voice against rights violations. We condemn summary execution, crimes against humanity, torture, inhuman treatment and arbitrary arrest and detention by the police in Nigeria.