Roxie – Dog Massacre in Lagos Nigeria
This is the story of Roxie, allegedly to have been brutally killed by security operatives, acting under the instructions of the estate management committee, chaired by one Mr. Olugbenga and managed by another individual who goes by the name Mr. Laoluwa. According to the owner, the dog was killed for wandering. But that is just a surface description of the story. Let me take you into the journey of the full incident.
In the early hours of Monday, the 19th of March, I got a message on my WhatsApp with a video of a lovely dog an (American bully) and the owner playing and having fun. I had no idea of the intent of the video, but I was watching with enthusiasm. All of a sudden, I saw a bloody dog, and then a dead dog. The same lovely dog I saw in the same video, was apparently being killed. And then I was like, ‘what the heck! My first response to the sender was “what is going on here”. It was after this, that the sender gave me a comprehensive account of what happened. Incidentally, the sender was a friend of the dog’s owner. Although she gave her story about what led to the dog’s death, I insist I would like to speak with the owner.
However, I got the owner’s number and we spoke at length. With intermittent crying, she gave an account of how Roxie died.
According to her, she occasionally visited her brother with her. Her brother also owns a Lhasa known as Miguel. Both Miguel and Roxie love playing together. Both dogs have always been the best mates. Both dogs always play with her both inside the living room and within the compound (as evident in the video). Both Roxy and Miguel were friendly and playful. They equally got attracted to neighbors as it was natural for both dogs to play with people. So, whenever they are allowed to play in the compound, they go as far as reaching out to the gate and then return back home.
6 hours before Roxie died, she was found missing. According to Vincent (the dog owner), Roxie must have run out of the compound while the gate was opened by the last person who came into the compound unaware. Having noticed Roxie was missing, Vincent and his sister, initiated a search party and informed the security operatives about his missing dog (This is what ordinarily, a responsible dog owner could have done). Few hours later, the security operatives reached out to Vincent and told him his dog had been found. Roxie lost her way home and wandered into another compound, where the owner of the property alerted the security operatives.
When Vincent got to the compound with the joy of reuniting with his dog again, his hope met a brick wall. What soon happened has become a nightmare that will always haunt him for the rest of his life, and a scar that will never heal. The security guards denied Vincent access to the compound. Vincent didn’t see so many things coming. His denial into the compound was the least of his worries, as he was confident his dog was alive. “I wasn’t concerned at first when I was locked outside the gate. I became apprehensive when the guards came back to me and told me they were instructed to put the dog down as it was the edict of the estate, despite the fact that I was not aware of these rules as a resident living in the estate for about 3 years now. I still pleaded to allow Roxie to live, and that I am willing to bear any fine so meted”. Said, Vincent.
Vincent pleaded without any remorse from the guard. Suddenly, gunshots enveloped the atmosphere. Roxie screamed in fear and in excruciating pain, as she ran towards Vincent for help. Unfortunately, Vincent was locked outside. I could see this in the video myself. On sighting her killers, she ran away for safety. The guards followed, and again, they shot her. Roxie was shot 3 times and died due to loss of blood. The killers ensured Roxie had died before throwing her dead body in a sack to Vincent.
My first question is this. What would have warranted such a manner of cruelty to a dog in the first place, despite the plea from the owner?
My second question. Even if there were to be a law to restrain dogs, would killing a dog be the best way of installing safety? What about stunning?
The third question, a sane-minded individual or group would have thought of seeking dog owner consent in a case where rules and regulations are enacted.
This and many questions are being asked by Nigerians, as millions of Nigerians are demanding justice under the hashtag #JusticeForRoxie.
While the Animal Protection Organization of Nigeria was investigating this incident, I put a call through to the estate manager several times with some text. He didn’t pick up, and neither did he respond to my text. Vincent has reported the case to the police. The police got the shooter arrested, after investigating that the shooter had no license, which is another case for concern. The powers that be in the estate are working tirelessly to sweep this matter under the carpet. The shooter has since been released. According to Vincent, the DPO of the police where the incident was reported advised Vincent to take the matter to Panti due to incessant pressure from influential residents of the estate to sweep the case under the carpet.
Nigeria is a failed system. This happens all the time. People get beaten, maltreated, and even killed, and people who perpetrate these acts go unpunished just because we lack a good justice system, particularly from the end of the police. Right before our eyes, this video justifies the story brought forward by Vincent and has no evidence of falsehood. The video clearly showed that the killing was pre-determined, with the plan to make the dog owner witness the killing. This is the most gruesome murder of a dog I have ever seen.
In the process of our investigation, I and my team met Vincent in Lagos, where the incident took place. He gave an account of how he begged for Roxie’s life and promised to pay any fine to keep her alive. But the other party claimed the dog held his family, hostage, for 5 hours (no evidence for the claim). For that reason, the dog had to die. This action is extremely cruel. I spoke with the chairman of the estate, who also supports the killing on the grounds of human safety. But, I made him understand that a unanimous decision to kill a stray dog is an act of cruelty in the first place. There should be other options. Why is death their only option? Animal Protection Organization of Nigeria will pursue this case to the very end.
APON will seek justice for Roxie at all costs. This will serve as a deterrent to others who think they can inflict pain on animals in Nigeria and get away with it.
We are calling on everyone from across the world to kick against this gory incident and demand that the perpetrators of this cruel act face the full wrath of the law. This act contravenes section 495 of the criminal code under section 495 (1a) of the criminal code of 1990 (cruelty against animals). It is also a felony to willfully and unlawfully kill an animal.
Animal Protection Organization of Nigeria and its partner agencies, the Society for Animal Rights Protection – SARP, and other organizations across the world will fight this until justice is accomplished for Roxie.
With effect immediately, we are calling for the re-arrest of the shooter, the occupant of the compound (Mr. Ike) who turned deaf ear to Vincent’s plea, Mr. Laolu, the estate manager, and the chairman of the estate, Mr. Olugbenga.
Please share this video until it reaches all concerned organizations. Cruelty to animals must stop not only in Nigeria but also in the rest of the world.
Storyboard: Joseph Odika, Adekunle Olumide, Akinsehinwa Seweje.