As I lay bleeding out on the ground, I was protesting peacefully at the Lekki tollgate and the Nigerian Military opened fire on unarmed citizens. The date is 20th October 2020 and these are my last words;
Tell my mother I was unarmed
Tell my father I had the flag in my hand when I was shot
Tell the unborn generation, that I died a hero singing the national anthem
Tell the cowards who shot me that my spirit lives on in every youth
November has saturated the air vapor, and blows it down from the icy heavens. Water trickling where footsteps were stamped into the coal tar, the Lekki tollgate; it is a solitude of grief.
For half the 60-year period of the republic and the century of colonial rule prior to independence, quasi-state police and military police forces have been suspected of suppressing civil dissidence. The past of police abuses in Nigeria allows us to see how the state power is being misused against its citizens. But it also demonstrates that Nigerians have defied their fundamental humanity negation through all this. Death has never been the cost of trying to debate basic human rights. This generation of Nigerians stands up for it and will achieve.
What about Nigeria? The smooth mixture of high unemployment, high poverty and high analphabetism combined with some of the world’s most crooked leaders.
The youth of Nigeria spoke out despite a structure that didn’t suit their needs. The fact that the #EndSARs broke out in October 2020; 1 October 1960 marks the official date of Nigeria’s independence from the British government is poetic. Young Nigerians continue to seek independence from repression sixty years later. The #EndSARS demonstrations started with a focus on police brutality, but spread over other areas of injustice, abuses of human rights and underdevelopment in Nigeria. In order to make Nigerian citizenship something concrete and worthwhile for young people, #EndSARS protests didn’t actually try to overthrow Nigeria or even the Buhari regime.
For the Nigerian people speaking up, this is the beginning of the end to decades of negation. Borne out of that realization that although things are bad, they will continue to get worse if we citizens do nothing but hope and pray in this supposed democracy.
Exactly a month after, and what’s changed? While the operations of the rogue police unit SARS have been drastically reduced, there is no end to the police brutality, still no accountability or punishment for the Killings of peaceful protesters. In the wake of an apology, the Nigerian government showed their remorse by not only blocking the bank accounts of mediums used to donate for the cause, but have ensured tyranny by tracking down and arresting protesters.
My fellow Nigerian youths, do not relent for this is a symbol of your democracy. You whom have elected these people into office have the right to demand those who profit from the statis to implement change.