Thursday, January 13, 2022

Three unarmed young men are running for their lives. There are a few yellow buses parked along the street. The three men are being chased by four, armed, older  men, with at least three of them opening gunfire at the running men. The gunshots are not aimed at their legs; they are not shot in the air; they are aimed at the fledglings attempting an escape. One of the younger men cuts a corner and does not stop running, but the other two were unlucky. Their bodies become a home for bullets. They attempt crawling away but are unable to move. Seeing that the men are down, their assailants turn back and take a leave. One of them, carrying what appears to be an AK-47 runs to shake his colleague’s hand jubilantly. The people who have just been shot are peaceful protesters, and the people who shot them, celebrating their kills afterwards, are men of the Nigerian Police force. 

A sweaty, almost inanimate young man is held by another young man as a small crowd surrounds them. The lifeless man is stirred by the shaking of the man holding him. He is begging him to move, to say something. He does not. Two little boys soon join as they try to shake the inanimate man to life. One of the boys starts talking in Yoruba, begging his brother to wake up. He tells the brother to remember that their father is dead, and he is responsible for their feeding and schooling. But the brother is dead too; another peaceful protester shot by the Nigerian Police. 

endsars protest
Pain VIII. Illustration by sef adeola.

On October 21, a day after the Lekki massacre perpetrated by men of the Nigerian army, thugs were unleashed across Lagos State and other parts of the country. Due to curfews announced across different states in the country, several protesters were at home. Even if they wanted to protest, the Lekki massacre was still fresh, and a lot of people were processing the brutal event. 

One of such persons, sitting at home, and protesting online was Oke Obi-Enadhuze, a young product designer. Oke, at 1:54 pm WAT tweeted “Nigeria will not end me”. Oke died barely two hours after. The initial news making rounds was that a stray bullet shot by Policemen attached to Makinde Police station, Lagos, hit Oke. However, a tweep who identified himself as Obi-Enadhuze Daniel said his brother was stabbed in the neck after thugs invaded their home. Several people have come out to admonish Oke, and how generous he was in life. The 21-year-old gets the credit for building a blood donation app for Life Bank Services. The company says;

We are devastated by the death of our colleague. 

Coming to terms with the permanence of these deaths, Nigerians have only asked for one last thing from the state; justice. But as with all other things, Nigeria has crushed the hopes for any justice through a Presidential address that not only undermined the loss of human lives but also threatened peaceful protesters. In Nigeria, there are several trigger-happy policemen in uniforms, who may not belong to the now-disbanded SARS unit, but are equally as dangerous. These killers on government pay-roll are now encouraged by knowing that they can kill citizens in front of cameras and get away with it. 

The problem with all of this is not only that we may never get justice for Lekki protesters, for Oke, for the unarmed men shot and celebrated by their killers; the problem is that the killers now know that even in the face of evidence, there is no justice for the killed. 

While there are several panels of enquiry being instituted across the country, one may be inclined to hope that maybe things may be different just this time, but the constitution of these panels with government loyalists, few young people affected by the brutality, and the continued insistence of government on discrediting available evidence like that of the Lekki massacres, only show promises of a failure waiting to happen. Perhaps, this one time, things will be different, but for now, we are breathing out hope, and breathing in exhaustion. Will Nigeria end us too?

Muhammed Akinyemi is a Nigerian Journalist and writer, currently telling human rights, space and minority rights stories in Nigeria. You can reach him on akinyemimuhammed@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @theprincelyx.

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1 Comment

Obiageli 26 October 2020 at 8:21 am

In my country, Nigeria, just like Freedom, Justice too is an illusion. The more you seek it, the more you watch it elude you…

#EndPoliceBrutality
#EndSARS
#EndCorruption
#EndBadGovernance
#NewNigeria
#JusticeForNigerianYouths
#InvestigateLekkiMassacre
#NigeriaDecides2023

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