Comrade Alex Ogbu, a journalist, trade unionist and human rights activist was felled by police bullet on January 21, 2020, at Berger Roundabout, Wuse, Abuja. The incident happened during a brutal police crackdown on protesters calling for the release of leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Ogbu was doing his job as a journalist, reporting on the demonstration when he was gunned down. Initially, the police claimed that he died because he fell down and hit his head, but then it was revealed that he was actually shot in the head by a senior police officer. Many civil society groups and social movements condemned the gruesome killing.
The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was blood loss resulting from gunshot injuries. The police authorities refused to carry out the coroner’s inquest. This was in an attempt to cover the police officer that killed our comrade. Since then, with the support of Femi Falana (SAN), a lawyer and human rights activist, we sued the police and the federal government in the Federal High Court. At the court we called for the prosecution of the officers responsible for the dastardly act and an appropriate compensation for the dependents (especially a scholarship for his then two-year old daughter). Because of the neo colonial nature of the Nigeria judiciary and the snail judiciary system, the court has not yet reached a verdict.
Unfortunately, the case has suffered series of adjournments due to the way cases of ordinary people are being handled in the country. It took the Anthony General Federation (AGF) almost a year to file the defense of the respondents. Three judges have sat on the matter and we’ve suffered over 10 long adjournments. But we’re committed to fighting the matter until a final victory.
The death of Alex Ogbu has left unimaginable pain to his loving family and comrades, whose world has been turned upside down. Amidst their pain, Alex’s devoted family and comrades have found the strength to appeal publicly for Nigerians to join them to fight for justice. They remain absolutely steadfast in their determination to bring the killer to justice and get the appropriate compensation.
All those who want to see an end to police violence against armless Nigerians have to redouble their efforts.
They must organise and demand:
-End police brutality now and all form of police harassment and abuse of democratic rights.
-For the right to protest and an end to shooting of protesters by policemen!
-End all roadblocks and check-points designed for illegal extortion.
-Adequate compensation for the families of the victims of police brutality.
-For the right of the policemen and women to have a Police Union.
-Heavy penalties for all officials who have committed crimes against demonstrators and other citizens!
– Comrade Dimeji Macaulay is Co-coordinator of the Justice for Alex campaign