GRUESOME XMAS-DAY MURDER OF BOLANLE RAHEEM BY A POLICE OFFICER SHOW POLICE BRUTALITY IS FAR FROM OVER!
* We Demand Democratic Probe and Diligent Prosecution of the Murderer
* Reforms are not enough; disband the Neo-Colonial and Oppressive Nigerian Police Force
The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) strongly condemns the murder of Mrs. Bolanle Raheem, a Lagos-based legal practitioner, who was killed by an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Drambi Vandi attached to the Ajah police division, on Christmas day. We commiserate with the family of the deceased while demanding justice and immediate prosecution of all the police officers involved in this dastardly act.
We note that the police authorities have placed the suspect on suspension pending outcome of investigation. As far as we are concerned, this is not reassuring in the least. From experience, the police which have become a factory of production of officers with disregard for human rights and lives cannot be trusted to fully deliver justice. There are numerous cases of killings like this that have been swept under the carpet. Of note is the fact that many of the victims of police/military clampdown on the EndSARS protests and victims of polices brutality before the 2020 EndSARS struggle are yet to get justice. This is because the perpetrators of these atrocities are mostly backed by the police institution, which itself is an arm of the capitalist class responsible for keeping down the anger of the people and clampdown on their voice.
Based on the above observations and considering that a police officer is the main suspect in this crime, we do not believe that an internal investigation conducted by the very same rotten police institution can be credible. As far as we are concerned, only a public, independent and democratic investigation conducted by representatives of the media, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), professional bodies, trade unions, youth organizations and other progressive groups can be trusted to come out with a reliable outcome.
Furthermore, the police have not given any concrete timeline for the investigation. The bereaved family and members of the public cannot be expected to wait endlessly for justice without any clear timeline. Looking at the facts of the incident which are already very clear, we do not think a thorough investigation should necessarily take more than a few days. We therefore call on the police authorities to be prepared to present its findings to the public not later than the first week of January 2023. Anything later than this will only provoke suspicion of a cover-up.
In our opinion, this murder shows that police brutality is far from over, despite the bold statement made by thousands of Nigerian youth through the EndSARS struggle. In reality, despite the gains of the EndSARS struggle which resulted in the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), setting up of judicial panels of enquiry, some improvements in police pay and a few other reforms, it is unfortunate and rather disheartening to note that police brutality continues and has even been on the rise of late.
For us, what this means is that reforms though important are not enough to end police brutality. The reasons for this are two. Firstly, the police anywhere across the world so long they exist under the current prevailing capitalist system are by their nature instrument of coercion and class rule; hence, brutality and oppression is an inevitable part of their mode of operation. Secondly, the Nigerian Police Force in particular arose in the mid-19th century as a colonial constabulary force with the sole mission to suppress native agitations and uprising against colonial rule on behalf of the English crown. When independence came, the police force transferred its loyalty to the new local capitalist rulers but its mode of operation as an instrument of coercion continued unchanged.
Considering the above, nothing short of a complete dissolution of the Nigerian Police Force and its reconstitution on a democratic basis can lead to an end to its habitual brutality. But this itself is impossible without a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism which requires such a brutal police force for its survival and the enthronement of a Socialist Nigeria. To this end, Nigerian youths need to re-energize themselves for struggle against police brutality and oppression in general. This tragic occurrence can only be prevented through the united struggle of Nigerian working people and youth against police brutality and for an end to the unjust capitalist economic system that requires the police as an instrument of coercion.
In conclusion, we seize this opportunity to call on all youth organizations, human rights groups, unions and importantly, the trade unions, to give their voice to the struggle against police brutality. In the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC), we welcome all genuine and effective initiative geared towards seeking justice for the slain Bolanle Raheem and other victims of police brutality.
We also welcome youths who are interested in the need to fight for a livable society to join us in this struggle.
Adaramoye Michael Lenin