End Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria Police

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On 19 January, Madani Kamdel, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) with the Oyo State Command, ordered Inspector Adeyemo Adejumo, a female officer to go on patrol at Owode Junction area of Oyo town. She informed the ACP that she was ill, pleading to be excused from duty on this legitimate basis. But the senior officer insisted that she must report to the post. She had no choice and thus, despite her ill health, she adhered. While at the duty post with other colleagues Inspector Adejumo equally informed her team leader, Inspector Atato Mojisola of her ill health which had worsened.

The team leader immediately advised her to approach the police clinic in Oyo for treatment. Adejumo was moved to the Area Commander’s office to get an excuse duty certificate for her to go to the police clinic for medical attention. The certificate was issued to her and she was advised to take the certificate to the administrative unit of the Area Commander’s office for record purposes. In the process of doing this, she met ACP Madayi Kamdel who had earlier rejected her plea for humane treatment.

On seeing her, the ACP angrily punched her several times, leaving her unconscious on the floor. The ACP was in no way remorseful despite the result of his callous action. He left the unconscious female officer in the state he put her and went into his office. The attitude of ACP Madayi Kamdel can best be understood from the angle of a senior officer abusing his powers and “connections”. He was obviously confident that he would not be challenged for such a condemnable action as a senior, male police officer.

The #EndSARS revolt has brought the numerous systemic rots in the country and the Nigeria police particularly, to the fore. And it is important to grasp the fact that the rot in the Nigeria police force goes beyond brutality and extrajudicial killings. Sexual and gender-based violence especially by senior policemen is deeply rooted in the Nigeria police force.
The assault by ACP Madayi Kamdel of the police surveillance team of Oyo state is not an isolated one.

We can recall that in April 2020 one Sergeant Bitrus Osaiah shot Sergeant Lovender Elekwachi dead at Eneka area of Port Harcourt. Lovender was a female colleague of the same ranking. She was killed because of her refusal to participate in destroying goods and properties of some market women trading at that area. Also, we are familiar with how military men and police maltreat and violate young women with impunity.

This criminal act just like every other crime and violence the Nigeria police is infamous for, is in contravention of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and ILO convention 190.

But the Nigeria police is an integral part of the Nigeria patriarchal, capitalist state. It is to protect the interest of the few rich and powerful that unleash class terrors on the working people. The Nigeria police’s primary task is to defend the capitalist system against our desire to change the oppressive system and establish a working-people’s system that works for the 99% majority instead of the 1% few.

That is why the joint force of Nigeria Army, Police and SARS massacred peaceful protesters at Lekki Tollgate on 20 October 2020, when working-class youth demanded an end to bad governance and police brutality.

Similarly, the Nigeria police is organized in the form and nature of the bosses’ system where violence on the vulnerable and misogynistic culture is deep-seated, reflecting in the force. We will recall that a senator Elisha Abbo physically assaulted a female vendor at a sex store in Abuja on 11 May 2019 and the case against him was initially dismissed. Rather he was seen being celebrated by the same elements in the ruling class as he defected to the ruling party.

All these criminal activities by vagabonds in power to borrow from Fela Kuti, without consequences, further embolden elements like ACP Madayi Kamdel. This poses serious challenges to eradicating the horror of gender-based violence in the workplaces and communities. We demand public prosecution of ACP Madayi Kamdel, and payment of compensation to Inspector Adeyemo Adejumoke, to cater for her medical bill and injuries she sustained.

This horrible reality further justifies our popular #EndSARS demand and for reorganization of the Nigeria police. But we must also understand that even a reorganized police force will remain an instrument of oppression of the masses. We need a new system of liberated people. We can and will win this with working-class people’s revolution which is anti-capitalist and anti-sexist.

by Lai BROWN

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