The Guardian

Presidential aide calls for justice for Nigerian student killed by Canadian police

Sunday Asefon, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Student Engagement, Bola Tinubu, has expressed sadness over the murder of Stephen Opaso, a Nigerian student studying at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

Mr. Asefon, in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, called the killing barbaric, brutal and heartless. He pledged to coordinate with the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria and further work with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of NiDCOM to ensure that this unfortunate killing is not swept under the rug.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the late Stephen Afolabi Opaso, a 19-year-old Nigerian student living in Canada, was shot dead by Winnipeg police in Manitoba on December 31, 2023. .

The deceased had a knife in his possession at the time of the encounter and was said to have had mental health issues at the time of the incident. Winnipeg police confirmed in a statement that there was a confrontation with an armed man, but details were limited.

“On December 31, 2023, at approximately 2:22 p.m., Winnipeg Police responded to a 911 call regarding a man acting strangely at an apartment in the first 100 block of University Crescent.

“The caller advised that the man may be armed and that there were other people in the suite.
“During this encounter, an officer fired a firearm, striking the man. The officer immediately provided medical care and ensured the well-being of all other parties at the scene. There were no other injuries.

“The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries,” the statement said. Mr. Asefon said the public impressions gathered during an interaction with officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) earlier in the day were as follows: The case was that the murder was racially motivated.

He said the student who died was not welding his gun at the time of the incident and that the officers would have acted differently if he had been white.

He therefore appealed to the NAS and all Nigerian students to remain calm and vowed to pursue the case assiduously until Canadian authorities provide the real explanation for the death of the Nigerian student.

He said his office would endeavor to provide due compensation to the families of the deceased to avoid a diplomatic spat that could lead to the closure of the Nigerian embassy by Nigeria's apex body NANS, which had previously been threatened. Ta. He also called on Nigerian students living in Canada to remain peaceful as his office ensures justice is served.


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