By: Feyiteniola Falodun (Senn Sophomore)
What started as a peaceful protest turned into a blood bath. October 20, 2020, the day Nigeria killed her people.
Lately, the news has been very difficult for me to watch. Not because of the presidential election, but because my homeland is in disarray.
I moved from Nigeria last school year, leaving family members and friends. It’s sad to see what’s happening there with people are getting killed by the government for no reason. I feel so sad and helpless because the story is not being discussed as much as it should.
Police brutality is everywhere however it is different in Nigeria. What do I mean? In some countries, people face police brutality because of their skin color but in Nigeria, it is based on what you own. If you own an iPhone, laptop, or a good car, basically if you dress nice, you might be arrested.
Unfortunately, this is a stereotype for the internet fraudsters popularly known as yahoo boys and the name of this police force is SARS (special anti-robbery squad).
A few weeks ago, Nigerians took to the streets to let their voices be heard, telling SARS to stop killing innocent people. As days went by, more people began to join the protest. The government announced that they have replaced the police with SWAT teams.
A week ago today a very unfortunate event happened at Lekki in Lagos, Nigeria. At around 7 p.m. the power at the Lekki toll gate was put out. Protesters began to wonder and tried to stay calm in the dark when they were trapped. Soon, they noticed they were surrounded by military men and their trucks.
The unarmed Nigerian citizens started hearing gunshots being fired at them in the dark. Lots of people lost their lives with their last words being the lyrics of the national anthem.
A girl I once knew was shot while she was protesting, and she’s now dead. May she rest in peace. Others have lost their family members, too. A friend of mine lost his uncle, and, honestly, when i think about it, that could’ve been me, or anyone else I love.
The protesters tried to help the people who were hit. They tried to keep them alive until the ambulances arrived. The military men stopped the ambulances from getting to the injured protesters, and many died on the spot. There was no evidence, and the next morning, no dead bodies were found at the site of the incident.
The Nigerian news networks are banned from talking about the situation. If not for social media, most people wouldn’t know what is going on. The government is tapping into people’s phones and stopping the wifi so that they won’t be able to share what is happening.
After days of Nigerians, other countries, and world leaders calling for the Nigerian President to speak, Mohammadu Buhari came on live television to say that the policemen were injured. No mention of the Lekki Massacre. He basically threatened the citizens to stay home or they would die.
Recently, the youth have decided to go back and strategize so they can come back stronger and better. The “Pro-SARS protesters” have been sending death threats and saying they would kill people. These people are mostly aides of the politicians who benefit from them or who are just starting their political career and are trying to help the government cover-up their atrocities that have been revealed.
I feel numb because there is nothing to feel anymore. All I can do was lay in my bed and hope and pray that everything gets better. It has been very difficult for me and fellow Nigerians, and I want to help spread awareness.