SSA to President Tinubu on Students Engagement issues statement on killing of 19-yeewar-old Nigerian student, Stephen Afolabi Opaso by Canadian Police in Manitoba

SSA to President Tinubu on Students Engagement issues statement on killing of 19-yeewar-old Nigerian student, Stephen Afolabi Opaso by Canadian Police in Manitoba

The Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Students Engagement, Sunday Asefon, has issued a statement urging a thorough investigation into the killing of 19-year-old Nigerian student, Stephen Afolabi Opaso, in Manitoba, Canada, by the Winnipeg Police Service on December 31, 2023.

Asefon condemns the incident as barbaric and heartless and calls for attention from relevant authorities to ensure justice is served.

Demand for Investigation:

Asefon has called upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to ensure that the tragic incident is not overlooked or dismissed.

He emphasizes the need for a comprehensive investigation into Opaso’s killing, addressing concerns of racial motivation based on the presumption that the police response may have been different if the student were white.

Allegations of Racial Motivation:

The public perception, as gathered from an interaction with the official National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), is that the killing might have been racially motivated.

Asefon highlights that Opaso was not armed during the incident, prompting questions about the police officers’ actions and potential bias based on race. The urgency for an unbiased investigation is stressed to dispel any doubts.

Government’s Role and Assurance:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and NIDCOM Chairperson are urged to ensure that the incident is thoroughly examined, addressing concerns about racial discrimination.

Asefon emphasizes that the Nigerian government needs to assure the public that Opaso’s case will not be ignored, raising the possibility of diplomatic tensions if swift action is not taken within a stipulated timeframe.

Appeal for Calm and Diligent Follow-up:

Asefon reassures NANS and the entire Nigerian student community to remain calm, promising diligent follow-up on the case until Canadian authorities provide a transparent account of the incident.

He highlights the potential consequences, including the closure of the Canadian embassy in Nigeria, as previously threatened by NANS, if the Federal Government fails to take appropriate action within three working days.

Legal Perspective and Diplomacy:

Human rights lawyer Tolu Babaleye joins in, emphasizing the need for justice and asserting that the force applied by the police officer appears excessive.

He argues that even if Opaso had a knife, alternative methods should have been explored rather than resorting to lethal force.

Babaleye acknowledges the diplomatic implications between Nigeria and Canada, emphasizing the importance of handling the incident with wisdom to preserve their positive relationship.


The tragic killing of Stephen Afolabi Opaso has sparked concerns about racial bias, demanding a thorough investigation to ascertain the facts.

Calls for justice from government officials and legal experts underscore the need for a transparent and diplomatic resolution to this distressing incident.

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