This year 2020, Nigeria experienced two lockdowns, that of a COVID19 and an #EndSARS. After spending close to five disastrous decades of penury living in Nigeria, nothing becomes a surprise to me especially with the government’s stance on the Lekki killings: The denial; The poor attempt at salvaging the government’s self-image; The blatant lies. These are no longer surprises if you’ve lived all your life enduring what can be described as mind-numbing torture and a mind wrecking existence. It is a curse gifted to us by our thieving government.
Let’s explore the aftermath of these lockdowns. A few days before the unfortunate take over of the #EndSARS protest by hoodlooms, a young friend of mine accused the older generation of being complacent to the issues of Nigeria and I warned him to retract his statement. During the protest of June 12, the youths of that era demanded a similar change and nothing happened. I told this young friend of mine that blood would eventually be shed, which later happened, and in the end, there was a flow of sorrow, tears, and blood. Nigerians were forced to lick their wounds in the aftermath of #EndSARS. The stark reality is that we are still ruled by a dictatorship reminiscent of the military era. In the words of Femi Kuti, “I sorry sorry o, I sorry for Nigeria.
Nigerian youths! Welcome to the world of disenfranchisement. Welcome to #disappointment. Welcome to #faileddreams. This is the mentality most older generations have to live through. But if you are ‘fortunate’, like Desmond Eliot, to be a part of the government machinery, then you must become a better Nollywood actor, or else you’ll get booted out.
During the protest, the Nigerian government claimed to have ended SARS but they merely made a name swop from SARS to SWAT. Amidst the crisis, the president addressed the country, using a prerecorded 10 minute video (recorded videos seem to be the norm for the Buhari government) but he left out the most pivotal information: the Lekki shooting. Buhari claimed later on that he didn’t have enough ‘intel’ on the shooting that’s why he left it out! In the midst of this cacophony, looters had a spree taking whatever their hands could get on, especially COVID19 palliatives meant for the poor but were found hidden in warehouses all over the country. Talk about finding hidden treasures.
See how the ‘vagabond in power’ play on the common people’s intelligence. Governor Sanwo Olu and the Nigerian Army proved how great they are when it comes to playing charade. A simple question on who ordered the army to go and confront the protesters at Lekki led to a show of dementia. The military lied at first saying that they were never at the scene. Then they lied that they were there but never fired bullets. They lied some more that they fired but only used rubber bullets. They continued lying that they shot into the air.
Governor Sanwo Olu and the Nigerian Army then played a game of hide and seek on who ordered soldiers to confront the youths at Lekki. The army said that the governor ordered them to the toll gate. Lagos State governor, Sanwo Olu blatantly denied it. Then came the number game. Both Lagos State government and the army said no youths were killed. Later on, only two youths were killed. The Lagos state government even urged families whose members were killed to come out. Who would you expect to come out with such levels of insincerity by the government? After the army claimed they used rubber bullets on the protesters, CNN debunked this by publishing footage of shells of live bullets shot by the Nigerian army directly at peaceful protesters. Our dearest Minister of information, Lai Muhammad threatened to sanction CNN. Only, he, Lai Muhammad, understands what ‘sanction CNN’ means.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, like an angry juju man in a Nollywood flick, waded into the scene freezing accounts of financiers of the #EndSARS protest. General Buhari then assured Nigerians that he will ensure the #EndSARS protest does not repeat itself.
A certain ‘activist’, Kenechukwu Okeke, filed a criminal complaint before a Chief Magistrate’s court in Abuja against 50 #EndSARS promoters which included many Nigerian celebrities such as Falz, Davido, Tuface, and so on. People are asking whether this man is a government agent.
Lai Mohammed, who became unnaturally quiet over the CNN’s expose, earlier blamed the spread of fake news on social media which he advocated must be regulated. He blamed the outbreak of the #EndSARS violence in different parts of the country on the misuse of social media.
The events of these past weeks and even months (when you include the COVID19 lockdown) have turned out to be a mental and physical torture for the Nigerian citizen. A proprietor of a school, out of fear, recently begged me to stop writing anything about the #EndSARS because he can’t afford another lockdown for the sake of his school.
Nigerians are thick-skinned. We are used to hardship. We’ve embraced the realities of the aftermath of both COVID19 and #EndSARS. So what do the common Nigerians want? It’s simple: The good life. Nothing else. It’s not too much to ask for from a government that keeps hood winking them.