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April 7, 2015  

Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari: Really A ‘Fresh Start?

Badges, Bullets & Bodies: Police Killings at All-Time High

Former military strongman Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president-elect, rode the crest of popular support for his campaign promise to rout both Boko Haram terrorists and rampant government corruption from the continent’s most populous nation. But as he forms his transition team and selects key members of his administration, which officially begins May 29, Buhari is already warning his countrymen not to expect “miracles.”

Buhari’s political triumph is being hailed as a “new start,” not only for Nigeria, but also for the region and the continent as a whole. Is there reason to believe that the former major-general who led a coup in 1983 that brought him to power and whose regime racked up more than a fair share of human rights abuses is now a born-again democrat?

Dr. Chika Onyeani, the Nigerian publisher and editor in chief of the New York-based African Sun-Times, gives his analysis of Buhari’s return to power and its potential impact on the war-ravaged region.

In March alone, 111 people—most of them unarmed and men of color—were killed by police, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice said that Philadelphia police had shot and killed 400 people in seven years, 80 percent of them African Americans. These and other statistics confirm an extremely disturbing pattern.

Michael Greys, cofounder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and cohost of “Community Cop” on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, says the race-based patterns of police killings long have been established. The issue, he says, is that they continue despite claims of systemic “reforms.”

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