It is very easy to think that Nigeria is on set for another season of Jack Bauer’s action thriller 24! While, Nigerians will so wish this to be true, it is not. The soundtrack of gunshots, fires, wailings, weeping, body bags, bloody flags and so much more, are the reality of the present day Nigeria, and most notably, the Lekki toll gate massacre;
A couple of weeks ago (8th Oct. 2020) the Nigerian youths rose up in a unity for the first time in forever, to demand for an end to the highly notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad popularly known as SARS, after they could no longer tolerate the gruesome, reprehensible and extra judicial killings perpetuated by this notorious and rogue group of the Nigerian Police Force.
This dissatisfaction led to a peaceful uprising, where the Nigerian Youths demanded the complete abolition of this Police Unit, reform of the entire Police Force, as well as demanding justice for all the victims of the SARS unit, amongst other reasonable demands; this birthed the #5for5 that trended on social media for some days as a direct response to the announcement of the Inspector General of Police Mohammad Adamu on 11th October 2020. See details below;
Days after the peaceful protests had begun, it garnered lots of domestic and international attention, and then, things started to get violent. However, the violence was not from the protesters. As a matter a fact, there were lots of visual evidences that pointed to “the powers that be” as being the sponsors of the violence that threatened to overtake the peaceful protests nationwide, from Lagos to Abuja, to Benin City, and other parts of the country. The consequent violence led to the enforcement of statewide 24 hour curfews in Edo and Lagos States one day apart.
On 20th October 2020, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo Olu announced the commencement of a statewide curfew at 4pm. However, the peaceful protesters were not deterred in their quest for justice perpetrated against innocent Nigerians so they sat put at the Lekki toll gate in quiet and peaceful protests, holding the Nigerian flag in solidarity, and it minutes, everything went sideways, when men of the Nigerian Military opened fire on the peaceful protesters using live ammunitions, sniper rifles and all sorts machine guns on innocent civilians, killing them in numbers.
This was visibly seen by anyone with a smart phone and internet connection because this was captured live on Instagram. This carnage went on till the early morning of 21st October, and even though the numbers of deaths are yet to be fully known, as least 78 deaths have been confirmed as at 21st October. It was indeed an unforgettable day in the lives of Nigerians, as too many lives were lost, other injured, and some others reported missing. It was termed “Black Tuesday”. A day the Nigerian government murdered and massacred her citizens…. In a live broadcast by the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, addressing the massacre, he was less than transparent, which further infuriated the youths.
Now this begs the question; what is the hope for Nigerian? What is the hope of the Nigerian Youths, if her own government can turn against her? This is unarguably the question on the minds of every good meanings Nigerian; since it was a lot easier for the Nigerian government to unleash military kill squads on her citizens than meet their innocuous demands.
As every republic would look up to its Commander-in-Chief in times of crisis, Nigerians waited for over 24 hours after the massacre for the President to address the nation, but when he eventually did at 7pm on 22nd October, Nigerians were left “speechless” as the President’s “live” broadcast (by popular opinion) was void of empathy, and completely circumvented the “elephant” in the room, as he did not address the Lekki tollgate massacre.
Photo credit: Twitter, Google.