The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) operatives were caught on camera violently assaulting an unknown tricycle rider in a video that has since gone viral. The incident reportedly happened along the Benin – Sapele road in Benin, Edo State.
— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFASH) July 18, 2020
In the video clip, an undressed man is seen running helter-skelter and is eventually placed on the bonnet of a car by FRSC officials and beaten black and blue. One hears onlookers interjecting; some protesting and pleading for the officials to stop while others are cheering on the event.
Nigerians on Twitter initially condemned the act, questioning why FRSC officials had taken the law into their hands and decided to beat the man up for whatever offence.
This is very bad for the image of the @FRSCNigeria. The authorities need to look into it. As a civilian, he is unarmed, stark naked and yet they kept on hitting him like. What happened to counseling, protecting and providing for him as a citizen before anything else? Shame!!!
— RighteousnessTruthHoliness (@veobosi) July 18, 2020
Upon the video gaining traction, FRSC decided to respond with a statement on social media; explaining that the tricycle rider had been the instigator. They stated that the man had attacked the officers, tore an officer’s uniform, broken a windscreen and disfigured the mobile vehicles of the FRSC officials.
The statement also went on to say it is disheartening that the public would criticise the officer’s actions when they were acting based on self-defence. The road safety body also espoused that while they condemn acts of violence, they would not watch and allow civilians physically damage and assault properties and personnel.
PUBLIC HARASSMENT OF FRSC PERSONNEL AND DAMAGE TO FRSC PATROL VEHICLE BY TRICYCLE OPERATOR IN BENIN, EDO STATE https://t.co/gfhl6EcuNI
— FRSC, NIGERIA (@FRSCNigeria) July 19, 2020
Some Nigerians lauded FRSC for their actions, stating that it was right for them to have defended their men. They posited that the full video revealed that the man had instigated the assault and deserved the actions that he received. The twitter users declared that the entire story had not been broadcasted earlier and that FRSC’S statement had finally cleared the air.
People see only a video of about a minute and make conclusion base on that without having other information as to what happened before the video or after.
The FRSC tweet just cleared the air.
— Wale Mustapha Ikemba (@MB_Smokz) July 19, 2020
The FRSC Stood With Their Men.
— ♠Moshood♠™ (@More_should) July 19, 2020
Nice of you to talk about their training without first refering to his actions that triggered their reaction, that is the hypocricy these society is known for.
Your first reaction should be to fault a citizen who acts in that manner
— dogajoe (@adogajoseph3) July 19, 2020
I do not blame law enforcement officers. Nigeria is full of mad people and if you could live a day in their shoes, you will understand. Road safety officers experience 'life threatening' situations daily for licences and in benin u can go from completely sane to insane in a week
— Gozie (@itzchingy) July 19, 2020
In contrast, some Nigerians criticised the statement released by the FRSC; stating that it did not condemn the actions of the officials who acted rashly and violently. They pointed out that if indeed the keke napep rider had been the instigator, lawlessness cannot be fought with lawlessness.
This is disgraceful…not even a mention of how the frsc officials behaved unprofessional…why are we like this in this country? Who approved this write up? May God help us in this country…the guy could have died from those deadly blows to the head… https://t.co/uvHHEHS0ZQ
— Gods own (@omogunoriola) July 19, 2020
The Nigeria FRSC has failed us. How can you defend your men after they beat up an unarmed civilian mercilessly. How be it a mentally unstable civilian.
— Annihilatho💊💉📸 (@PenetOsa) July 19, 2020
Baba, we no fit use lawlessness cure lawlessness. That will lead to chaos. Every job comes with risk, it’s not an excuse to act like animals.
— Matt (@martinsobekpa) July 19, 2020
This is very stupid and shameless damage control. Your men have no right what so ever to assault a citizen in the manner that we all saw in that video. This is bad PR https://t.co/Y4cYV0w6di
— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFASH) July 19, 2020
Some also called out how the Nigerian police force and Nigerian security bodies as a whole, share in common the need to exert excessive, unwarranted violence.
Nigeria not an easy place to live in. You run from the police SARs Lastma and even the FRSC when you even get home arm robbers might be lurking around. Everyone wants blood not to forget hunger and unemployment. Nigerians are the strongest people.
— Hotboy (@mrdesmond___) July 19, 2020
If SARS no shoot you,Police go collect money from you with force, FRSC officials go beat you, ASUU go say make schls no resume again this year. If all this no happen to you, ladies go come online accuse you of rape at the slightest relationship gone wrong. This country sick
— #ReOpenOurSchools (@Oscarmanhazard) July 19, 2020
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks