The Nigerian Association of Manitoba has expressed its sorrow at the death of Afolabi Stephen, a 19-year-old Nigerian, who was shot and murdered by police on December 31, 2023.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba Police Department said in a statement published on its website via Winnipeg.ca that its officers responded to a report regarding a young male who was acting “erratically,” despite the fact that the specifics of his death are still unknown.
When the police arrived, they observed that their attempts to calm the young man had failed, and as a result, they had fired a gun, killing him.
The statement read, “On December 31, 2023, at approximately 2:22 pm, the Winnipeg Police Service responded to an apartment suite in the first 100 block of University Crescent for a 911 call regarding a male acting erratically. The caller advised the male may be armed and there were other people in the suite.
“Upon police arrival, they were confronted by an armed male. During this encounter, an officer discharged his firearm, striking the male. Officers provided immediate medical care and ensured the well-being of all other parties on the scene. Nobody else was injured.
“The male was transported to the hospital in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries.”
In a statement issued in grief at his passing, the Nigerian Association in Manitoba, Canada—whose president, Vera Keyede, signed it—urged the Nigerian community to maintain composure as the investigations went on.
“The Nigerian Association of Manitoba wishes to express her deepest concern and regret over the unfortunate incident involving the shooting by the Winnipeg Police Service on December 31, 2023, that resulted in the death of a Nigerian international student,” the statement said.
“We extend our condolences to the deceased family and friends. We understand the anxiety, frustration, sadness and distress this incident has caused within our community. We plead with everyone not to engage in any activity that may cause any tension or hinder the process of investigation and the law.
“This is a challenging time for all of us, we need the Nigerian community to remain calm and composed as investigations are underway. We acknowledge the community’s right to seek answers and justice for one of our own. NAMI is closely monitoring the situation and seeking guidance on how to proceed.
“NAMI will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available to us. We extend our support to those directly or indirectly affected by this unfortunate incident and we cannot over-emphasise the need for solidarity during these challenging times.”
According to a recent investigation by HowNG, around 300 Nigerians have been killed extrajudicially in foreign countries during the past seven years.
In 2022, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, gave a speech in which he discussed the unidentified deaths of Nigerians in Northern Cyprus.
She said that there had been no answers for the 13 Nigerians who had died in Northern Cyprus over the previous six years.