16-year-old Tina Ezekwe is maybe the most recent to make the headlines. A policeman trying to arrest a bus driver who had broken the lockdown curfew shot and killed her and the bus conductor.
Before Tina there was Chinedu Obi, who was shot and killed by a policeman with the Sango Area Command. And before Chinedu there was Kolade Johnson. And on and on like that.
But these are only the names that make the headlines. The phenomenon is a lot more common than any of us can imagine. And the folks at The Pobin Project want to bring them to our notice.
“An avalanche of unreported cases” exist beyond the small fraction of what we see trending on social media, they say, and it is our duty to demand more as a people, and, more importantly, to remember these people.
It’s important that we tell these stories so that everyone will know just how deep this issue is, how much of our daily reality police violence is, and why we need to change things.
A writer with the project, Kemi Falodun, said about their aim:
Many lives have been cut short by those whose responsibility was to protect them. Remembering them is our way of registering our anger, of demanding more as a people.
The next generation shouldn’t have to fight for their lives like this. Nigerians should be able to take a walk or drive or wear nice things without fear of police.
We’ll keep updating the database, collecting as many stories as possible. I believe the project will help shape public memory.
Photo Credit: @salakoay_ola