#IcantBreathe: How the last prayer of an unarmed black man sparked global outrage

It is a scary thought to imagine that the officers who earn a living from the taxes you and other citizens pay to be protected would become a threat to security.

For Nigerians, this troubling anomaly originates from a number of influences, none of which even remotely excuses it, but exists no less. The Nigerian police have taken to brutalising defenceless citizens as a result of poor policing protocols, lack of accountability measures and a general culture of corruption; stemming from even the highest hierarchy of civil service.

Similarly, in the United States, police brutality is a product of something far more sinister; racism.

Yesterday, footages of yet another case of police brutality on a black man surfaced online. The video depicted the last minutes of Gorge Floyd: an unarmed black man being brutally manhandled by police officers as he pleaded for his life. While pinned to the ground he continually uttered the words; “I can’t breath” which has now become the tag line for the protest against the racial motivated murder.

In the video, witnesses to the incidents in a failed attempt tried to talk the officers into easing the arrest. They pointed out the fact that he wasn’t resisting and as such didn’t need to be so forcefully constrained.

In an unempathetic display, the police officers refused to listen, as one of the officers was seen kneeling on the man’s neck. Three of the four officers present pinned the unarmed man to the ground, while one tried to control the crowd. The unarmed black man continued to plead that he couldn’t breath and he was hurting, but to no avail, until he become unconscious, and subsequently confirmed dead.

This disturbing footage has made its way all over the internet and shown the world again the injustice racism inspires.

Being of a similar race, Nigerians decided to join in on the conversation, particularly because we are no strangers to police brutality.


Back in Minneapolis, protesters have taken to the streets to demand justice for the family of George Floyd. Wearing face masks and holding signboards that read ‘#icantbreathe.’

A number of the Minneapolis residents have refused to let the lock down stop them from performing their civic duties. For them, the tragedy of murdering a black man in cold blood and in full view of the public displays a sense of white supremacy that should not be ignored.

Unfortunately even the protest is being met with heavy resistance and violence, leaving many to wonder if there truly is an end in sight, to the systematic oppression of people of color.


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