1st October 1960: Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom
20th October 2020: After 12 days of nationwide protests, armed officials fired at unarmed peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Bridge after CCTV and lights were turned off who were fighting for their human rights
If you remember from my last diaspora post, I touched upon the idea of acknowledging the good, bad and ugly aspects of Nigerian history. Well unfortunately, this post will be focusing on the ugly aspects of Nigeria post independence. Well, throughout the month of October, there have been nationwide protests in my homeland Nigeria to end and effectively dissolve The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). However what has started off as peaceful protests for basic human rights has descended into mass murdering and killing of an armed protesters and it honestly makes me feel sick and makes me feel helpless about my homeland.
SARS was formed by the Nigerian Government in 1992 by former police commissioner Simeon Danladi Midenda after the escalation of a conflict between ex-soldiers and police officers following the death of Col. Rindam by the hands on police officers in Lagos. The conflict and retreating of police officers led to an absence of the Nigerian Police presence for ~ 2 weeks; in which the crime rate subsequently increased. The resolution for this was to form SARS as a separate body from pre-existing anti-robbery squads.
More in-depth information can be found here and here
Considering Nigeria gained independence from the UK in 1960, 60 years later what is there to show for it? How in 2020 just after the celebration of Nigeria’s 60th year of independence is when all of this happens? To be very honest with you, the issues surrounding police brutality alongside the extortion/stereotyping of Nigerian youth has been an ongoing issue for many years. Yet, something about the year 2020 is just highlighting all the poor governance and the lack of common sense displayed by the so-called politicians/world leaders. I have already expressed my despair at the way Nigeria operates in terms of dealing with sexual assault and rape. However it is clear that as we all know there are several issues in Nigeria but the one main issue that cripples the whole nation is corruption, incompetence, negligence and the lack of care/regard that Nigerian politicians possess for the citizens you have a duty to. What completely baffles me is that Buhari has been “fighting” the Fulani Herdsman for endless years of unstable electricity/water yet somehow he has all the energy in the word to shoot at unarmed protesters with both bullets and water canons who are again protesting peacefully against the reality of decades of bad governance in Nigeria.
Weirdly enough, I found myself going down a Wiki rabbit hole in terms of looking at previous election results from the UK and US. This rabbit hole conveniently lead me to look at previous Nigerian election results after briefly seeing the extent of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and it’s interference with several worldwide elections including the 2015 Nigerian general election. To my horror, first of all there haven’t even been that many elections due to a plethora of awful military regimes (including a two year stint from 1983-1985 by Buhari). Also, I couldn’t help but notice that realistically speaking the same group of politicians have been in some sort of power since the 1980s. This means that if you get rid of one of them then sadly, there are a few in line to take over and basically implement the previous brain-dead governance. When I think about the extent of Buhari’s madness, it is clear that he is still very much stuck in his military regime days and his thirst for power was evident from 2003 onwards.
Even though I live in diaspora, it does not sit right with me how these politicians have run Nigeria into the ground yet they don’t want their kids/offspring to deal with the brunt of the mess that they have caused. For example, Buhari runs off to London to get his medical treatment yet a hospital resorted to treating a gun wound with a lamp because there are poor hospital/healthcare facilities for the masses. Also, Mojisola Alli-Macauley, a representative in the Lagos State House of Assembly, responded to the #EndSARS protests by making references to the Nigerian youth being “high on drugs” all the time. What I found audacious about her address was the fact that she made a reference to her experience of studying in the UK, that the youth in the UK “get on” with the rates of unemployment without resorting to becoming a “hoodlum”. Sis must be out of her mind if she thinks a staggering unemployment rate for youths is acceptable in the first place. This is the same attitude that many Nigerian elders have towards the Nigerian youth. This is even the same premise in which the Nigerian Police operate as a means to stereotype Nigerian youth as criminals. How about getting off your high horse to listen to why the youth are protesting instead of abusing your seniority and legislative power to fit your personal agendas of the Nigerian youth?
As I write this post, I am filled with so much anger, despair and disbelief that this nation has been run into the ground. The fact that unless something drastic happens to Buhari, there are another three years left for my fellow Nigerians at home to deal with this mad man. I don’t want to come across as a Nigerian in the diaspora who thinks they know better but one thing I do know is that these decrepit geriatric politicians need to go. The same individuals have relied on democracy to get them into power do not want to use that same democracy to effectively govern their individual states? Make it make sense! I don’t care how, I don’t care when and I don’t care why BUT all of them have to go. The truth of the matter is I am Nigerian first and foremost before I am British so Nigeria is somewhere I consider my homeland even though I’ve not lived there. Therefore, I cannot be silent on matters and problems going on Nigeria just because I don’t live there. I may not live in Nigeria but what’s happening there hits me just as hard because it’s not right. It’s not right for someone to go out and protest for their human rights and they don’t get to return home. It’s not right for a young person in Nigeria full of hopes and dreams to have their lives cut short because by judgmental police officers. One thing that comforted me is the way that the Nigerian youth aka the “lazy generation” came together to protest peacefully whilst helping and supporting one another – I loved every minute of it!
To all those who were involved in actioning the Lekki massacre and it’s cover up, you really can’t expect to continuously lie on a world stage when there is concrete evidence and think all will be well with you? It is clear that this government are set to do anything but fix up their dirty crusty governance in an attempt to break the resilience of Nigerians. All in all, there definitely needs to be change in Nigeria and I would like to witness one in my lifetime. I know for fact that’s going to start when all these geriatrics out the way they simply cannot be allowed break another generation of Nigerians because enough is enough!
Until next time,
N.B: I also want to use this post to briefly highlight all the issues facing Africa right now in various countries. I am a Nigerian but I stand with you all in your fight for a better well governed Africa
South Africa #StopGBV
Ivory Coast & 🇬🇭Ghana #ChildTrafficking