A couple of weeks ago, Nigeria experienced an unprecedented movement. This movement came as a shock to many who are used to Nigerians being docile and lukewarm. Nigerian youths came out en mass to demand an end to police brutality. This demand was regarded as an ‘uncoordinated coordinated’ protest as all youths saw themselves as leaders and pioneers of the movement. In response to the request, the youths were met with extreme police brutality which led to the loss of lives. Unperturbed, youths intensified their agitation as many share sour tales of their travails at the hands of police officers. Rather than listen to the youths, various tactics were employed by government officials and apologist with the aim of dispiriting these vibrant group of young Nigerians. Nigerian youths remained resolute, unshaken, and determined to be heard by those whom they elected.
On the 20th October 2020, a faithful Tuesday, like every other protest day, some Nigeria youths were gathered at Lekki tollgate to continue their demand for an end to Police brutality. Unknown to them, the government had decided to make use of their final and deadliest move. The military was sent to the tollgate to restore order even when it was obvious that the gathering of youths was peaceful and void of violence. Unshaken by the presence of Nigerian soldiers, youths resorted to sing the national anthem and wave the Nigerian flag. This act had no meaning to the soldiers who began to shoot live bullets at protesters. The earth became soaked with the blood of innocent youths. A few weeks later, Nigerians still ask, “who ordered the shooting?” Rather than provide a well detailed investigative report, the Nigerian government decided to throw away the baby with the dirty water, an act they are accustomed to.
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”, these were words spoken by Nelson Mandela. It is safe to say that the Nigerian government is eager to denigrate and trample on the rights of its citizens. If that isn’t so, why then are the accounts of Endsars participators frozen? why are youths being arrested by the police for simply exhibiting their constitutional rights to protest? why are the arrested youths not charged to court in 48hours as stipulated by the constitution? why are these youths arrested and kept behind bars, denied their rights to legal representation and access to their families? when did providing support to a peaceful protest become a crime? Why are government agents tracking the location of Endsars protesters? Do we have rights at all?
A month and few days after what is now known as the Lekki Massacre, Nigerian still ask, “who ordered the shooting on peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate?” Rather than pacify her young population by providing answers, the Nigeria government keeps denying the event of that day even when lots of verifiable evidence have been brought forth by local and International sources. Nigerians ask themselves, ‘am I the next victim to the continued police brutality?’ Since it is evident that the government care less about the lives and wellbeing of her citizens, many Nigerians now plan mass emigration to saner climes that respect human right. While Nigerians await the results of all state judicial panels of inquiry on police brutality, the Nigerian government appears to be bent in ensuring that Nigerians live in fear and are never emboldened to demand a better country.