Roommates Invited Canadian Police To Rescue Nigerian Student From Mental Breakdown. They Shot Him Dead

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FAMILY members of Afolabi Opaso, a Nigerian student who was shot dead under a mysterious circumstance by Canadian police officers in December 2023, have demanded answers from the North American country’s police force.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Opaso died on 31 December 2023, after he was shot three times by police officers in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

•Yemisi and Bukola Opaso

After months of protests by quite a handful of civil rights groups and movements in the country, the 19-year-old Nigerian student was eventually buried on Thursday.

Yemisi Opaso, the deceased’s sister, said she had continued to think about her brother since he was fatally shot and killed.

“I never would have imagined that in my lifetime I’d be coming to Manitoba to bury my brother,” Yemisi said to reporters during the funeral.

“It’s been the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.”

Winnipeg police claimed 19-year-old Opaso was armed with two knives when the officers shot him.

The deceased was studying at the University of Manitoba during the period.

“He had always wanted to come to Canada and be with his friends at the university,” Yemisi said.

My brother was kind, sweet and respectful. He had so many dreams. We miss him so much.”

She added that her deceased brother had planned to get his master’s degree in the United States and become an investment banker once he was done with his undergraduate studies.

Yemisi further said that since the incident, she had spoken with her brother’s roommates who were present during the shooting.

According to the deceased’s sister, the roommates told her that her brother had suffered a mental breakdown and that they had called 911 so he could get medical help.

She added that the roommates claimed they made it clear to the police when they arrived that he only posed a danger to himself and not to others.

He was trying to hurt himself with a knife. He was just banging his head on the wall. They tried to talk to him; they tried to persuade him, but they weren’t able to do anything, and they were just scared,” said Yemisi.

“They never imagined that a … 911 call for a welfare check would lead to his death, so it’s been tough for every one of us.”

She then called for improved police training, stating that there were better ways of responding to mental health crises.

Bukola Opaso, another sister of the deceased, who had travelled from Nigeria to be at the funeral, said the investigation into his death would not bring him back but would give her family closure.

She described the period as her family’s worst moment.

“Up until now, I didn’t believe that he’s no more,” Bukola said. 

“It’s really difficult to come to terms that he’s no longer alive. Afolabi was very dear to us and all his friends in Nigeria.”

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media

 

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