I've always known that the Nigerian government is filled with narsisstic animals that only want power and have no intention of fixing the society. However, recent events have shown me the depth of evil that lurks in power.
The past two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for me and millions of well meaning Nigerians that simply want to live in a peaceful world. This need drove us to engaging in a peaceful protest that has shown us the true depth of evil and consternation that the government has against the people.
It all started about two weeks ago when people took to Twitter to share disheartening stories of police brutality in Nigeria. Virtually everyone had a story of personal or loved ones horrible experience of some sort of police brutality and oppression. The Nigerian police are renowned for being corrupt and abusive, to say the least, but in the midst of their corruption, a certain arm, known as SARS(Special Anti Robbery Squad) stand at the top of the shit pile.
Horrible experiences with this unit of the police engendered pent up anger in millions of citizens that were fed up of being treated like shit by men and women we pay to protect us. Eventually, this movement had a tag titled #ENDSARS and people used it to share some horrible stories on Twitter. In a matter of days, a website called endsars.com was created for people to share their experiences with these monsters.
So the question is, how did a tag and online protest result in the death of hundreds of citizens, despite being one of the most peaceful and "chill" events in Nigeria's history?
Well, we have to take a short trip down memory lane to understand the situation. You see, the president of Nigeria, General Buhari, is as bad as the come, but, just like every other Nigerian politician I know, he has the right amount of evil, political will and "motivation" to rise to power. He was once head of state under military rule in the 80s, and now, just like then, the country is in an economic turmoil, and the government constantly violates human rights and completely disregards the "constitution" it is built on.
In the 80s, he got in through brute Force like the military always do and now, he came in through a propaganda driven election to depose the incumbent president. Since he came into office, we've seen Nigeria slump to new lows in terms of poverty and corruption, despite using anti-corruption as his mantra.
While he was dictator in the 80s, there have been numerous accounts of journalists, doctors, lawyers and generally anybody that speaks up against him going to prison. He employed fear and threat to life as his tools to governing and just like a leopard, he stayed true to his spots, because this is 2020, over 30 years later and we're living in terror.
When he ascended to power in 2015, I remember how my mum fell sick for over week. I was born in 92, so I didn't experience his military rule, and I thought she was overreacting. She said, and I quote "You weren't there Belemo, you weren't there" and continued crying on the phone. Now I know mama, I understand why you were crying because just like my mum, this man's terror has driven me and every body I know to tears and unprecedented emotional turmoil.
The first blow
The point of this history lesson is to familiarize you with the kind of animal we were going up against when we embarked on these peaceful protests. Different cities around the country gathered at different locations to protest the horrible state of the police and demanded accountability for crimes against humanity committed by people who were suppose to protect us.
The Government struck the first blow of sorts, by putting a gag order on news agencies. All the local outlets weren't talking about the protests, but when CNN, Sky news, Aljazeera and other international outlets started talking, the Inspector General of Police went on air for the first time to address the situation. What was his statement? He came online to refer to people protesting for their right to live as "attention seekers and clout chasers".
Undeterred by the lead clown of the police force, the protests continued for a few more days. Suddenly, stories about police brutality started spreading to other countries. The international outlets started documenting all the stories of police brutality and some like Aljazeera even made exclusive shows about the situation.
If there's one thing our "leaders" hate, it is being international disgrace. They don't mind stooping low to get power but just like the slaves they are, they get to power and just go around the world with cap in hand to beg for "support". Then they take all the support and hoard it for themselves.
Thus, the attention of the international community drove the top clown of the police force to take back his words but at this point, it was too little and too late. The deed had already been done and some shitty words on paper wasn't going to be enough; it's the same trick they've been playing for many years and there was no backing down.
The protests persisted and rightly so, because despite being unarmed and peaceful, the protesters were met with the very violence we were protesting against. Despite their attempt to stop the protests through violence, it persisted and day after day, the momentum and numbers increased to the point that somehow, people with cardboards and the Nigerian flag became a national security threat.
Hope for the future
The protests continued and we were getting way more attention from the international community, thanks to the internet. Locally, the media houses were doing the most to spin the story in a way that made us seem like the villains but try as they might, the truth, thanks to camera footages of the police and recently, the military using lethal force to "disperse" peaceful protesters always came out. We'll get to the military part later on.
The protest wasn't a political movement. It was by all definition, decentralised. There was no figure head or any political motive. We were just a group of random individuals from all over the country that had a common cause. For a country like Nigeria that is often divided along ethnic and religious lines, this was a monumental event because for once, the government had a unified opposition that just wanted accountability.
Funding for the Nationwide protest provided food, healthcare and legal services. At the initial stage, it was a cat and mouse game, with the government using the idiots of the police to shoot and arrest unarmed citizens. However, every time someone got arrested, the legal team, dispersed Nationwide, would get them out and it was all from the funds donated.
The government, through the Central Bank tried to cut off funds for the protest by blocking certain accounts, so we resorted to Bitcoin and secret donations to the cause. The government also placed sanctions on certain organisations like Flutterwave who supported the cause because, like I said, the Leopard in charge, doesn't change. The same beast from the 80s is the same beast today.
However, for the first time in my life, I saw a Nigeria that I was proud of in the youths. We came together, irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliation to push a common goal. I was and am still proud of my country, but alas, the animals in charge had other plans and when pushed to the wall, they showed their true colours.
Animals in power
When the protest started getting too much international recognition, the tyrant president came on TV to read a script. He couldn't look at the camera to apologise for the lives that were lost due to police brutality. Instead, he said a bunch of bullshit and then, claimed to have disbanded the SARS unit...on paper, at least.
In reality, nothing had changed and this was evident in the fact that right when he was making his disgusting speech, three unarmed protesters were killed by the police. Nothing was done to the police officers and until today, nobody has been held accountable for those deaths.
As if that wasn't enough insult to the people, the dictator and the Governor of Lagos were shown on camera discussing the issue. The president of my country laughed when he heard that one bystander named Jimoh was gunned down by the police. The bullet that hit him was shot by a police officer trying to disperse a gathering of peaceful protesters.
Every time someone died because of the protest, a part of me died. I slumped into depression for some days and I couldn't stop the tears from coming down my face. That poor kid didn't deserve this, he died because his government failed him and so, the protests continued, despite the government claiming they had ended SARS.
As I said, it was all on paper. They're politicians and all they do is talk. They claimed to have disbanded SARS but clips of the unit were surfacing from different parts of the country. The president and top clown's statements were bold faced lies, and we weren't backing down.
Every day, more people flooded the streets to ask for an end to police brutality and for the leaders to make concrete and tangible steps to fixing the issue. Instead, the protesters were greeted with violence. During the period of this protest, I saw more death than I ever expected and my heart got so cold. We've always known that the government don't give a shit, but realising that they'll rather kill you than fix a problem hits differently.
Despite the Government's unnecessary use of force, and threat to life, peaceful protests persisted. More people died at the hands of the government daily and nothing changed. But just like everything in this country, when you think things can't get worse, the animals in charge will surprise you.
They realised using police force isn't working, and more people ere trooping in to join the peaceful protest. So, the government used their greatest weapon, poverty, to disrupt the protest.
You'd be surprised what someone is willing to do for $3 in the poverty capital of the world. The government then employed and armed thugs to disrupt the protest. This isn't propaganda by the way, because thanks to mobile phones, once again, numerous clips were caught of these thugs coming out and getting into government vehicles.
As if this wasn't stupid enough, the government literally released prisoners and then pinned it on the protesters. Like, there's video evidence of people literally climbing out of a prison. The gates were locked, nobody got in but people came out and then they somehow claimed it was protesters?
They also paid a bunch of idiots to make a counter protest called prosars to somehow cancel out the endsars protest. Everyone with a brain could see through this ridiculous plot, and though it derailed the protest for a minute and further strengthened their fake claim of the peaceful protests being a threat to national security, the struggle for freedom continued.
The Lekki Massacre
A few days before the Nigerian army carried out the Lekki genocide, the top clown of the army, general buratai, came out openly to say that his allegiance is with the president. Do you know how scary it is for the leader of the army to state categorically that he's not neutral, that he's not for the people but that his allegiance is with a democratically elected president?
When this story broke, I knew in my heart that something bad was on the horizon. Why will the military want to get involved in a nonviolent civil issue with the government?
On the 20th of October 2020, the Nigerian military was used to murder a gathering of unarmed citizens that were singing the national anthem and waving the flag. It is dubbed the Lekki genocide or Lekki Massacre depending on where you check.
This dastardly act wasn't random, or sporadic. The army carried out a calculated assault on its own citizens and if it weren't for live feeds gotten through Instagram and Twitter, the world would never have known of the monsters in power.
- First they pulled up on protesters, and then flanked them. Effectively barricading them.
- Then they waited till it was dark enough, turned off the lights in the toll gate and began shooting at the protesters.
It is the saddest day of my life as a Nigerian citizen and even as I write this post, my heart bleeds. Scores of people were injured that day, with countless individuals suffering gunshot wounds and an unknown number of deaths until today.
The whole event was captured live on djswitch's Instagram and until today, many still believe her life is at risk. The events got international coverage and like every bad news, it spread like wild fire, capturing the attention of many influential personalities calling for an end to violence in the country.
The country has descended into chaos but this was all because of the inept government. They will try to pin it on the protests because propaganda is all they know but the truth is on the internet.
In this same country where terrorists were rehabilitated and sent back to the society; peaceful protesters who asked for a better life were met with violence. At the end of the day, the only bright spot was seeing youths, millennials, and Gen Z come together for a common cause. We put all those archaic differences aside and pushed for a better life.
Even though the protests have stopped due to the unrest caused by the government, we will not stop probing and asking for a better life. We're part of history and when future generations sing the national anthem, and get to the part where they say "the labours of our heroes past, shall never be in vain", they will be singing about us.
For now, we've at least been able to expose our government for the inept, narsisstic, and blood thirsty cowards they are. The president, vice president and everything affiliated with him is an international disgrace.