21 – 10 – 20
Earlier in the day on that Black Tuesday, I was making hospital and bank runs when a 24hours curfew was imposed by the Lagos State government starting from 4pm but later moved to 9pm. The rush, the traffic, the mayhem, and the defiant peaceful protesters who were shot at is unexplainable. Videos, stories and images emerging from that day have been difficult to watch and unforgettable.
We had just celebrated 60 years of independence. Things had started picking up for many business owners after the long covid-19 hiatus. Young Nigerians were peacefully on the street asking for the bare minimum – good governance and security. For a moment we had one voice. The feeling of happiness, confidence and unity echoed through Nigeria. We didn’t care about tribe, status, or our economic woes. We were one!
In that unison we celebrated. We ate, we drank and we sang #EndSars because we didn’t still trust our government. Enough of the lies, we want action! We were still enjoying our human rights but violence has always being a tool for politicians. They used their arms and ammunitions on us. They killed our brothers and sisters. It could have been me caught in this violence. It could have been my best friend who went to that protest ground from day one to day eleven. It could have been any of us.
In the wake of Wednesday 21st October, hoodlums took advantage of the #EndSars protests to cause havoc, burning and looting public assets, and other private properties.
These gruesome attacks have sent us back to caring about tribe, arguing, cursing and bullying ourselves on the internet, bickering and fighting over who is right or wrong. Our moment of happiness and respite taken from us. But it is not over. We just started.
I took a drive around Lekki with Yagazie Emezi who was reporting for National Geographic Channel. The shootings and looting had stopped, after a night sleeping in fear of getting robbed in your own house. They were military soldiers everywhere. Some roads were barricaded by soldiers and some were blocked by street OPCs. Thugs were still roaming. No police officers in sight. And none in sight as at the time of writing this.
Lekki was on fire, or at least Circle Mall is still burning at the time we got there around 2pm. The streets was a mess filled with filth and burnt tyres at every point. In Lekki phase one, so many personal businesses, banks had been vandalised and properties stolen. It’s been reported that banks, local government secretariats, police stations, the Palace of the Oba of Lagos, Shoprite in Ajah and Surulere, Nigerian Ports Authority head office, the governor mother’s house at Akerele, VIO/Federal Road Safety Corps’ offices at Ojodu, magistrates’ courts at Igbosere, TVC station, the Nation Newspapers office, BRT station and buses and so many others have been burnt down in the last 48 hours.
In summary, this whole crisis has been poorly managed. The government are more concerned with lying and filtering social media news circulating the world, than managing the crisis and communicating properly.Our re-elected president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces made a statement and we feel more threatened. The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his cabinet members are moving mad. The military administration is still lying.
The questions on every Nigerian’s mouth is WHO GAVE THE ORDER TO KILL PEACEFUL PROTESTERS?
We are the stubborn generation. The chosen generation. We are engaged. We would not be silenced. This is only the beginning. We are awake now. There will certainly be electoral consequences. There will be an end to this bad governance.