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Grammy-nominated Nigerian singer, Femi Kuti has called for a reform of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), stating that they are meant to defend us and not kill us.
The entertainer expressed this view while addressing the media at the New Afrika Shrine, Lagos where a protest against police brutality took place on Friday, April 5, 2019.
Kuti said that the protest is not an attempt to undermine or scrap the Police Force but to demand a reform of the system that will make it work in the interest of the people and not kill them unlawfully.
The protest is coming on the heels of the recent killing of a young Nigerian man identified as Kolade Johnson. Johnson met his untimely death when a bullet from a sporadic shooting by a policeman hit him and killed him. Johnson’s only crime was for being in the right place at the right time as he was watching a football match at a viewing centre when the tragedy occurred.
Since the tragic death of Johnson, many Nigerians both home and abroad have renewed their call for scrapping the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the country. In the past a lot of Nigerians have shared their saddening experiences in the hands of the security unit with many stories on police brutality and unnecessary harassment.
Describing Kolade’s fatal shooting as one too many tragic excesses of the force that should not be condoned, Kuti said a change is important. He said,
“We’re not against the Police. We’re saying the complete orientation of the Police must change into positiveness. The Police works for us and must defend its citizens. The Police cannot go and kill its citizens. We pay our taxes so the Police must defend us. We’re not saying scrap the Police Force, of course, there’ll be crime. If Police is properly equipped then Police can protect us against crime.”