Killed by the Police; Struggle for Justice for Alex Ogbu Continues, Three Years After

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#Justice4AlexOgbu demonstration in 2021

The police shot Alex Ameh Ogbu in the head on 21 January 2020, resulting in his death. This was during a clampdown on a protest organized by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to demand the release of their leader, Sheikh El Zak Zaky.

Alex was a leading member of the Abuja branch of the Socialist Workers & Youth League (SWL) and a former Editorial Board member of the SWL. He was also a trade unionist, serving as the National Administrative Secretary of the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) at the time of his death.

Journalism was his primary love. He joined the SWL whilst working with a tabloid in Lagos. On relocating to Abuja, he served as editor of the African Herald Express. And whilst he was a full-time trade unionist, his journalistic passions could not be repressed. He continued freelancing for a number of newspapers and was covering the IMN protest when the police killed him.

The police attempted to cover up their dastardly deed. They initially claimed that Alex Ogbu fell whilst running away amid the pandemonium as they cracked down on the protesters, and he fell, hitting his head on a sharp object.

The police tried to avoid having an autopsy done. But it was impossible for them to get away with this. There was a massive outcry by radical groups and trade unions. And the autopsy established beyond any doubt that he died from bleeding out from a bullet shot in the head.

The struggle for justice for Alex Ogbu these past three years has been long-drawn. The radical lawyer, Femi Falana has been pivotal to the legal aspect of this struggle. Standing in solidarity, the Falana & Falana chambers have sued the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Force, at the Federal High Court, on behalf of Alex Ogbu’s family.

Francisca Unekwu Ogbu, Alex’s widow and an activist in her own right has been undaunted, despite the tremendous burden arising from this great loss, playing leading roles in several demonstrations to demand justice. Alex’s daughter was barely two years old when she lost her father. One demand before the court is for compensation for Alex’s family, including a scholarship for the daughter. We have also demanded prosecution of the police officers who killed Alex.

Th court case has been long drawn, witnessing several adjournments and transfer of the case. As Francisca points out, “the case has been moved to a High Court at Kurudu, Abuja for hearing on 15 February 2023.”   We will not rest until we win justice for Alex Ogbu.  

We seize this moment to express our deep gratitude to several comrades and organizations that have stood with great resolve in this struggle for our comrade, and his family from whose arms the police snatched him with a bullet.

We particularly appreciate Dimeji Macaulay and Gerald O. Katchy who have both provided sterling leadership as co-coordinators of the Justice for Alex Ogbu Campaign, Femi Falana (SAN) whose chambers has fully supported the legal case, prosecuting it pro bono, Omoyele Sowore, National Chairperson of the African Action Congress who has stoutly stood by Alex’s family and the campaign for justice and Vivian Ebele Bello, journalist and rights activist.

by Baba AYE

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