Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) and the National Council for Arts and Culture have condemned the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in the United States, and police brutality, and racial discrimination against Africans in the diaspora.
Mr Floyd’s death more than a fortnight ago has triggered a global wave of activism that has spread to more than 50 countries, including Nigeria and 16 other African countries.
During a memorial service for Mr Floyd held on Wednesday in Abuja, the duo of NiDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the Director-General, NCAC, Olusegun Runsewe, called for justice for Mr Flyod and other blacks (especially Nigerians who are the largest African ethnic group in the U.S.) against racial discrimination and police brutality.
“This gathering is against violence, brutality and racial discrimination. We call for respect and dignity for all races. Never again should we be made to witness what we saw on the streets of Minneapolis, the slow murder of an individual by a uniformed police officer,” Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said.
According to Mr Runsewe who is also the president World Council of Arts, African Region, African culture has great respect for the sanctity of human life and detests violence.
He added that Nigerian culture in particular is centred on love and dignity, thus Nigeria’s reason for joining the global movement for justice.
“This is why we are joining the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission to ask for justice for Late George Floyd and to propagate the message of peace all over the world.
“We believe that all men are created equal and have inalienable rights among which are rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” he said.
‘Come home where you are loved’
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said it was time for Nigerians and Africans in diaspora to reconnect with their home and the black continent, adding that it is not a bed of roses “but it is home where they will be overwhelmed with love and the spirit of togetherness.”
She said “Badagry Door of Return” is a platform for every black person to connect physically, spiritually emotionally and economically with the motherland since they have an African DNA in them.
“As a black person, you must aspire to come back to your motherland where you can freely breathe. As a black person, you should think of coming back to Africa or Nigeria to invest in an environment where you can freely breathe and as a black person, come back to your home where you will be shown love,” she said.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa added that tracing their African roots would be symbolic for them as they would be received as “kings and queens” on the African continent, following the slavery experience.
There was a minute silence in memory of Mr Floyd and all the other black Africans all over the world who have suffered violent attacks and even death on account of the colour of their skin.
This was followed by two drama presentations titled “I can’t Breathe” and “Our Hearts Toughened.”
In the wake of global call for justice against police brutality, small protests took place at the U.S. embassies in Lagos and Abuja which prompted the diplomatic post to issue a statement in support saying it saluted the protestors “expression of solidarity.”
“They join many Americans who are similarly outraged by what transpired and we have seen them express their shock, grief, frustration, and anger in many parts of the United States,” it said.
Police brutality has also been a cause for concern in Nigeria. PREMIUM TIMES had reported a series of police brutality and how Nigerians had called for the reform of the police among others.
But when the spate of sexual violence against women increased in the past weeks, the demand for “justice” generally resonated after drawing inspiration from the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the U.S.
The rallying cries #JusticeForUwa, #JusticeForTina and #JusticeForJennifer have reverberated among internet users in Nigeria with celebrities joining the virtual campaigns.