ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga on Thursday condemned the police brutality being experienced in Nigeria, terming it as extremely worrying and unacceptable. Through a statement on his social media accounts, Odinga said the actions are a reminder of Africa’s threatened march towards democratization.
“The police brutality and abuses that have gone on in Nigeria for the last couple of days, leading to multiple deaths and injuries of unarmed civilians are extremely worrying and unacceptable. There can be no excuse for that amount of brutality on unarmed civilians protesting misconduct on the part of the police.
“I pass my sincere condolences to the bereaved families and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. The brutality meted out on protesting civilians is a sad reminder of how precarious and threatened Africa's march towards democratization, respect for rights and freedoms and the rule of law remains. Yet it is clear that as a Continent, we won't achieve much without strict adherence to these ideals,” read the statement in part.
The former Prime Minister said it was time for Africa to move away from confrontation and violence and resort to dialogue to resolve differences.
“As a Continent, we need to disembark from the politics of confrontation and violence and pursue restraint and engagement to resolve our differences. It is particularly incumbent on those in authority to ensure they use their positions to protect the lives, rights and freedoms of citizens. The opposite has been the case in Nigeria.
“I, therefore, wish to call upon the African Union and Nigerian authorities to investigate the violence and murders that have gone on and hold the perpetrators to account. Africa and its institutions must stand up for and condemn the brutalization of its citizens at home with the same energy and vigour it responds to the violations of its citizens abroad,” said Odinga.
Several renowned musicians also called for an end to the police brutality including Beyonce, who said she was heartbroken by the happenings. “I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria,” Beyonce wrote. “There has to be an end to SARS. We have been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change,” the Black Is King singer continued.
'We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand by you,” she wrote. Beyonce was referring to the plight of protesters who were calling for the end of the country's Special Anti-Robbery Squad or SARS, a police unit which has been accused of widespread corruption in Nigeria.