The National Association of Nigerian Students, Zone D, has described as shameful attempts by the police to stop a planned protest to demand justice for a teenager killed by a policeman.
Tina Ezekwe, a 17-year-old girl, was hit and killed by a bullet from the gun of a policeman trying to enforce the curfew put in place to curb the spread of Coronavirus last week Tuesday in the Iyana Oworo area of the city.
A protest had been slated for 11:00am Thursday to demand justice over her killing but had to be postponed after the Divisional Police Officer of Bariga Police Station refused to allow organisers to express their constitutional rights to protest.
NANS Zone D in a statement on Thursday by its Public Relations Officer, Kazeem Olalekan Israel, said they will not be cowed by attempts to derail justice and will mobilise young people to carry on with the protest as planned.
The statement reads, “It is so shameful that despite the fact that we are in 2020, someone that is in the position of a Divisional Police Officer does not understand that a police permit whatsoever is not needed before staging a protest. We would have overlooked it as an error on his part but as stated in a popular law maxim that “ignorantia juris (legis) neminem excusat”, meaning ignorance of the law excuses nobody, we are duty-bound to educate and enlighten him in correcting his erroneous view about protest.
“This is not to appear contumacious but the truth is, with the statement uttered, the man is not fit to be a police officer not to talk of being a Divisional Police Officer because the statement credited to him clearly shows that he is obsolete, hence, he constitutes a grave disgrace and disservice to the Nigeria Police Force.
“The murder of Tina by police bullet is heart-wrenching and worth a spontaneous mass action to be taken to demand prosecution of the officers involved so as to serve as deterrence to others, but, it is shameful that a police officer would declare protest to be illegal until a permit to that effect is acquired from the Commissioner of Police.
“Though, we commend the police authority for arresting the officers involved in the murder and for assuring us of proper legal actions to be instituted against them but we maintain that it is alien and unknown to the Nigerian legal system that protesters would be barred for not possessing a police permit.
“Also, the demands of the Oworo Youths and Bariga Youths are beyond just the killing of Tina; it is against all forms of violence chiefly state brutality.
“As an association, we wish to remind the Bariga DPO and the authority of the Nigeria Police Force that based on reports, security operatives have killed more than Coronavirus so far. So, it is just normal for the people to be displeased and perfect plans to register their displeasure through an organised mass action. The demand is simple and it is that an end must be put to police brutality.”