Nigeria – Alex Ogbu case: Justice at Last, But Not Yet Uhuru

Dimeji Macaulay

On Wednesday, June 21st, 2023, the long-awaited justice for our slain comrade, Alex Ogbu, finally came to an end. A feeling of justice prevailed, bringing joy and emotions to comrades, friends, and family members of the late Alex Ogbu—a human rights activist, socialist, and journalist. The verdict was delivered at the FCT High Court in Kurudu. However, this is just the beginning; the struggle is not yet over.

On Wednesday, Justice Mohammed Abubakar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting at Court 58 in Kurudu, Abuja, ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay the sum of N50,000,000 (fifty million Naira) or 67,114 dollars to the family of the late Comrade Alex Ogbu. Alex was killed on January 21, 2020, during a protest by the Shiites in Abuja.

This judgment once again highlights the urgent need to address the continued attacks and harassment of ordinary people by the police. The police attempted to frustrate the case through intimidation and manipulation, hoping to delay or make us give up. However, our determination to seek justice and put an end to police brutality prevailed. The slow judicial process in Nigeria also contributed to the prolonged duration of the case.

The case experienced numerous adjournments, including instances of missing case files and transferring the case from one court to another. But with our unwavering consistency, we achieved justice in the end.

The reality is that the police should immediately comply with the court order. Unfortunately, there are reports of the police authorities being notorious for disobeying court orders. We are prepared to confront the police through political and legal battles if they fail to appeal within the stipulated time provided by the law or if they do not obey the court order. We remain committed to fighting until we achieve final victory.

Comrade Alex Ogbu, during his life, was a prominent member of the Abuja branch of the Socialist Workers & Youth League (SWL). He was not sectarian; he was committed to our collective struggle for a better world. Alex was also a devoted socialist and trade unionist, serving as the National Administrative Secretary of the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) before his gruesome killing by the police.

The struggle for justice for Alex Ogbu over the past three and a half years was made easier with the legal support from radical human rights lawyers, Femi Falana (SAN), Abubakar Marshal, and others. We express our gratitude to Falana & Falana Chambers for providing pro bono representation despite the significant cost of litigation.

Comrade Alex left behind dependents: his wife, Francisca Unekwu Ogbu, who is currently unemployed but actively participated in all the interventions despite the challenges of surviving after the loss of her husband, and a young daughter who recently celebrated her fifth birthday.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who stood by our side during this difficult period. The fight against police brutality must continue, and we will persist until the police comply with the court order.

Comrade Dimeji Macaulay is a Co-Cordinator of the Justice for Alex campaign

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