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Police brutality has no place in our society #ENDSARS
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Police brutality has no place in our society #ENDSARS

Losing a loved one is the most difficult feeling to deal with. Losing someone at the hands of the police who are the face of integrity and at the forefront of putting an end to criminal activities, is intolerably painful. 28-year-old, Judith Akoth, a Correspondent from Kenya says individuals should never stay silent on police brutality.

Our police are our shield from crime, the first go-to place when in distress. They are supposed to be our safe haven. But when they mutate into monsters and criminals, who bait on innocent people, they compromise the security of a society.

Lately there have been many cases of police brutality, which have costed precious, innocent lives. In America, we have seen a revolution dubbed ‘Black Lives Matter’ to protest against police brutality against innocent black people. Currently in Nigeria, there are protests to end The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS.

I first got a glimpse of their corrupt and brutal treatment of suspects on a feature by BBC Africa Eye named The Torture Virus: Tabay Rampant Amongst Nigerian Security Forces. The images were graphic, and it was difficult to watch the atrocities being committed by men in uniform.

The thing about police brutality is that we do not even have a clear picture of the full extent of the problem, because many cases have gone unreported. I believe that a lot of lives have been lost, especially young people who had bright futures ahead of them.

The police are the same people tasked to investigate crimes, and so the risk is that they will slack off when it comes to investigating matters that directly link them to a crime. As a result, victims continue to suffer, while the perpetrators carry on with their criminal activities. In fact, they often appear to believe that they are untouchable; and being fully armed, they easily intimidate victims. Unfortunately, because of their powers, anyone can be a victim.

A society that is exposed to constant police brutality and intimidation breeds psychologically tortured, sheepish and emotionally fatigued individuals. Such traits are not very good for socio-economic development.

One particular incident in my home country that forever remains in my mind, was the murder and death of a human rights advocate, Mr. Willie Kimani, who was suffocated using a polythene bag and strangled with rope before being dumped in a river in June 2016. He was representing his client Mr. Mwenda, a scooter rider, in the case in which Mwenda had accused key suspect, Administration Police Officer; Fredrick Leliman of issuing death threats to him. Mr. Mwenda had claimed Leliman shot him after he lodged a complaint with the IPOA (Independent Police Oversight Authority) because the officer had lodged framed up charges against him. Two other victims including a taxi driver who drove Mr. Kimani and his client to court also suffered a similar fate.

This knowledge compels me to never keep silent on police brutality, and to now, add my voice to the #ENDSARS campaign. Human life is precious and must be protected at all times. Our young people need to live in a safe environment, away from fear, witch-hunting, crime and intimidation. They need to be supported to thrive and live to their full potential. For this to happen police brutally has no place in our society. Let us all stand up and support Nigeria to #ENDSARSNOW.

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Photo Credits: Associated Press

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About Judith Akoth: I am a confident and articulate graduate who enjoys engagement in journalism clubs and associations.  Young yet mature; I am interested in developing my skills in conflict management in politics, ethnic, and religious-inspired conflicts. I believe our future generations have a right to live in a peaceful environment that allows for their holistic development. Currently, I am a blogger and a volunteer at community-based organizations.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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