By Eric Elezuo
The video which went viral depicting a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a suspect until he died did not only sent chills down the spines of well meaning individuals, it created a yet to be answered question on ‘where is humanity’?
On Monday, May 25, 2020, the Minneapolis Police department received a call from a store, reporting a supposed felon, who was allegedly issuing a fake cheque for his purchases. The man, 46 year-old George Floyd, was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody at the arrival of the officers of the Police Department. The video did not show any evidence of a struggle between the black gentleman, and the officers.
Floyd was later pinned to the ground, close to the tyre of the police patrol car, with his hands cuffed behind his back. The arresting officer, who was identified as Derek Chauvin, then placed his knees on his neck against the hard surface. Floyd protested in pains, but he couldn’t move his body as the entire weight of Chauvin flowing into his knees rested on his windpipe in addition to the immobility of his cuffed hands. His protest now coming in muffled speech of ‘I can’t breathe’ and his breathe coming in irregular spasm, Floyd was gradually going numb. But Chauvin and his co travellers showed no mercy. Onlookers, who noticed the pains Floyd was in prevailed on the officers to release from his neck since he was already in custody and harmless, but they paid no heed. A particular bystander pleaded, and asked that his pulse be check, when he noticed that Floyd was no longer moving, but the officers refuse. And suddenly, the man went completely numb. He was dead. They showed him mercy. A visit to the hospital afterwards was to fulfill all righteousness and get a confirmation. An innocent soul was killed in broad day light for no just cause.
The death of Floyd for no verifiable offence amid his pathetic plea of I can’t breathe, is a typical situation with Nigerians. For years, the government has compelled the citizens to tighten belts in the face of obvious hardship, dearth of infrastructure, social amenities and all the rest including education. But the authorities, even with the plea we can’t breathe, has continued to tighten the noose, or this time the knee to the neck of hapless Nigerians.
In the education, Nigerians can’t breathe as Academic Staff Union of Universities and other educational unions are constantly at loggerheads with the government over one issue or another, and so strikes have become the order of the day.
The health institutions have completely suffocated the people, as hospitals are more like glorified mortuaries. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse as more deaths have recorded from other sources other than the pandemic. No health worker seem to care about a patient for fear of the disease. No one is listening. The only health matter at the moment is to listen to the new cases of coronavirus every night. Nigerians can’t breathe!
The Police are out there snuffing life out of citizens either from accidental discharge or outright shooting over refusal to part with bribe as low as N20. Nigerians can’t breathe!
In the last couple of days, almost all Nigerians, especially in Lagos State, turned members of vigilance group as bold faced armed robbers, who called themselves one million boys, threaten the peace of residents. Nigerians can’t breathe!
A journey of not more than 15 minutes will take a motorist or commuter as much as three hours to complete because of the dilapidated nature of the roads which breeds unprecedented traffic jam. Nigerians can’t breathe!
It is no longer news that every Nigerian resident is the sole provider of his own electricity, water, education, road and many more. Nigerians can’t breathe, and yet the knee is pressing harder down the neck. And like Floyd, the voice is becoming muffled, the breath is coming in spasm, movement is highly impossible, and soon silence may occur. Who cares?
Please take urgent steps cause Nigerians, like Floyd, can’t breathe!
Pastor Lands in Jail for Lying Against Colleague in Ondo
The Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the state capital, on Thursday sentenced a pastor, John Abiodun, to two years’ imprisonment for false allegation against a church founder.
Abiodun was arrested in 2019 for lying against the founder of Promiseland Prophetic Ministry, Akure, Pastor Gbenga Akinbiyi, that seven placentas were planted on the church’s altar.
The church is located in the Shasha area of Akure.
The convict, who was a former member of the church, swore an affidavit before the commissioner for oaths on the matter.
Abiodun and a lecturer of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Prof. Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, were later arraigned on eight counts bordering on conspiracy, publication of false information, perjury, impersonation, threatening violence, among others.
The second defendant (Olu-Adeyemi) was the admin of a WhatsApp group on which the false accusation was published.
During a series of court proceedings on the matter, witnesses were called by both the prosecutor and the defence counsel.
The trial judge, Justice Bode Adegbehingbe, found Abiodun guilty of count five of the charge.
He said the convict contradicted himself while giving evidence in the allegation against him, which included the use of different church WhatsApp platforms and other social media to malign, carry out false publication and wrongly accuse the founder of the church.
The court said Abiodun was guilty of perjury, an offence punishable under Section 118 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ondo State.
The judge also held that in law, anybody found guilty of perjury was liable to life or 14 years’ imprisonment, but due to the plea by the defence counsel, Mr Olanrewaju Adesanmi, he would reduce the jail term to two years.
“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to two years’ imprisonment,” the judge ruled.
The second defendant was discharged and acquitted as the court said the investigation conducted by the police on his involvement in the matter was shoddy.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Kayode Dare, expressed satisfaction with the judgement, saying the court had vindicated Akinbiyi and other members of his church.
Accident in Katsina Claims 13 Lives, 70 Injured
Thirteen people died while 70 others sustained injuries in a motor accident along Kaita/Dankama Highway, Katsina State on Thursday night.
Although details of the circumstances surrounding the accident were still sketchy by Friday morning, it was learnt that a majority of the passengers inside the truck were from the neighbouring Niger Republic.
The witnesses added that 70 sheep were also killed in the accident.
The PUNCH learnt that those who sustained injuries have been taken to the Federal Medical centre, Katsina General hospital and Amadi Rimi Orthopaedic Hospital, all in Katsina, for treatment.
However, the Katsina State Government sent a delegation to attend the funeral prayers and burial of the deceased on Thursday night at Dantakum graveyard located within Katsina metropolis.
The delegation included Commissioners of Local Governments, Alhaji Ya’u -Umar Gwajo-Gwajo and that of Sports and Social Development, Alhaji Sani Danlami, as well as Governor Aminu Masari’s Senior Special Assistant on Restoration Alhaji Sabo Musa and Head of Kaita Local Government Administration among others.
The government delegation also visited the injured at the hospitals on Thursday night.
The spokesman for the Katsina police command, SP Gambo Isah, was yet to react to the accident as of the time of filing this report.
Katsina VP Pays Student N300-N500 to Have Sex with Her, Arrested
The Vice-Principal of the Kadandani Community School in the Rimi Local Government Area of Katsina State, Ibrahim Tukur, who allegedly raped and impregnated a student of the school, has explained the circumstances surrounding the development.
He made the explanation in Hausa language to journalists at the police headquarters in Katsina, where he and other suspects were paraded on Wednesday.
Tukur stated, “I am being accused of committing rape and it’s true I committed the crime. I have been having affairs with the girl for eight months ago now. I used to take her to my house and offer her the sum of N300 of N500; some other times, I would give her N200 to have sex with her.
“Information reaching me right now is that the girl has been delivered of a baby boy for me. I have three wives.”
Tukur and the other suspects were arrested between January 9 and 14, 2021.
The spokesman for the command, SP Gambo Isah, told journalists during the parade that the vice-principal was arrested on January 9, 2021 following a formal report at the Rimi Divisional Police Headquarters by one Ibrahim Sani.
Isah said Tukur took advantage of the victim to impregnate her.
“The vice-principal, who is married to three wives, used to take the girl from the school to his house, where he had serial sex with her. As a result, he got the girl pregnant and she was delivered of a baby through caesarean section.”
Other suspects paraded included Auwal Hamzat and Sulaiman Abubakar, who were alleged to have sodomised three boys, who were children of their neighbours.
The neighbours reported the incident to the police, leading to the suspects’ arrest.
One Ishiaku Sani, 25, was also paraded for a similar offence.
Sani was alleged to have also sodomised the six-year-old son of his neighbour, who reported the incident to the police on January 10.
Also paraded was a 61-year-old man, Lawan Sani, who was alleged to have molested a six-year-old girl, whose mother reported the incident at the Central Police Station, Katsina, on January 14.
Similarly, one Jamilu Salisu was paraded for the alleged molestation of a five-year-old girl in Funtua on January 11.