It is with intense fear that I write this article. A lot has happened within the past few weeks that is enough to make a macho-man cry. However, I intend to speak my truth because silence is not an option and neutrality is blatant support for the wrongs that have been done. Hence my reference to a new word that speaks so much of my life and is a reason behind my haste to speak up.
My main source of concern is that I live in a country where citizens are afraid to speak up for the fear of being locked up under the guise of preventing sensational journalism. This is exactly what democracy should not be. However, I want to record my unbiased perspective on what happened last week Tuesday; black out Tuesday/ 20/10/2020. I want to put it out there that the intention of my story is not to ridicule anyone, and it is certainly not a propaganda against the present government and the intention is not to incite other Nigerians. Think of this as a way of ranting. I love my country and I support my government but I will call a spade a spade because regardless of tribe, religious affiliation and social class, all Nigerian Lives matter. The tweet below has made me gaslight and question all that has happened within the past week. Hence my decision to sorosoke.
I do not regret that I participated in the little way I could in the protests. I might not have supported financially or done it in person but I helped to spread the word on why we need police reforms.
That morning, I sent out my content to my editor, however, she was yet to give me feedback. However, I was so excited because I was going to celebrate all participants and call out the protesters who had lost focus; the ones who saw it as a medium to eat and drink. Lol. But, I had to go to church and a really huge part of me had been avoiding stepping into church- I don’t know why. But I went and we got to pray for Nigeria. Many prayed for the protests to continue; more prayed for the protests to end so they could get back to their daily lives; and others like me also prayed for God’s will to be done on earth.
Back at home, a sibling of mine said “They shot people at Lekki, come and see”. A huge part of me didn’t want to believe it. I was like, isn’t that the place where they eat and drink- I laughed it off. And he said- see, someone is on instalive recording. I opened up my phone, and saw it all. My timeline was filled with photos of the bloodied Nigerian Flag. I wasn’t myself. That was the day the government I loved murdered her citizens.
First, it was the news that curfew had been declared. Next the CCTV cameras were removed in the afternoon by people alleged to be sent by the government. Then, the only source of light which was the billboard was put out. This followed the news that soldiers were leaving their barracks. Everyone just wanted it to be a lie. We all said, dearest government, don’t be funny. It was like we had a premonition that it was going to happen but we didn’t know how soon. What broke me was when I saw videos of the members of the Nigerian military, walk calmly to the protesters as though they were going to engage in a dialogue I envisioned to be like; “my guy my guy, you guys should leave”. Instead, I saw them open fire on them. These protesters were responsible citizens from all walks of life, who sat on the floor, waving the Nigerian flag high, singing the national anthem.
The question on everyone’s lips from then till now is “WHY”? Who did we offend by being born in Nigeria? The security and welfare of the state is the primary purpose of the government and according to Section 33 of the 1999 constitution, we all have the right to life. This wasn’t a war for God sake!!! Why did you kill our fellow NIGERIANS? Have you no conscience?
We deserve an explanation that goes beyond forming a panel for every little thing and photoshoot sessions. We demand an explanation that goes beyond making a joke of our intelligence. We demand an answer to why the military was not used at various venues attacked and burned by hoodlums in the country but instead was used in a gathering of peaceful protesters.
In a country where we are told that public funds are looted by mythical creatures like a dragon or by less mythical creatures like the serpent sent to eve, we choose to no longer believe in that bullshit. If Nigerians said that the looting and burnings around Lagos was caused by a dragon on rampage, the whole international community would label Nigeria as a Mental Institution. So we need real time explanation, rather than giving blame to your enemies or people playing Sherlock Holmes under the guise of performing investigation on a crime scene that has been tampered with.
Insecurity and poverty has been weaponized to control the willing and the unwilling. Shoulders shrugged, every protester found their way to safety. We gave hoodlums a field day to perpetrate their antics. How can something so peaceful become so bloody? That day was the first time I cursed the government.