Currently, I’m battling with this cough and catarrh (An aftermath of sleeping out in the cold and under the fangs of mosquitoes in Alausa, Ikeja), I figured it might yet make sense to pour out all I have in my head about the peaceful protest and not go crazy.
I’m sure you know how it feels when you have loads of things to talk about, but you don’t know exactly how to get started with the narrative?
That’s the fence I’m sitting on right now, but I guess I’d just share them one after the other as they come to me.
Day 2: #EndSars Peaceful Protest
It was the morning of October 8, 2020, I had just gone out to eat at a nearby restaurant and was returning home to rest when I remembered the promise, I made to this lady…
…apparently, I had given her my word to join the Endsars peaceful protest that was supposed to last for 72hrs.
I put a call through to her quickly to ask where the meeting point was; she told me, and I rushed into my washroom to wash myself up and get ready to shoot for the moon.
You see, what seemed to be an opportunity to meet with a beautiful girl and start a series of dates with her, turned out to be a chance at fighting for something huge; a new Nigeria!
Well, I got to Ikeja that hot afternoon and saw a group of savvy Nigerian youths, who are obviously tired of the oppression and outright harassment of the police unit (SARS); a unit created to protect the citizens from thefts and all sorts of crimes.
At this point, I was not yet immersed in this movement, but as I began to hear several people recounting their SARS experiences, the fire in me to press on with this movement got kindled.
One lady recounted how she got stopped by the so-called Special Anti-Robbery Squad on a certain night…
…They collected her iPhone, the 20k Nigerian currency that was with her. That’s not all, they also took her to a nearby Ecobank situated around that area, she was coerced to withdraw the 120k that’s meant for her school fees, and was asked to smile like nothing had happened or else they will waste her.
I mean, I could go on and on typing all these terrible experiences people had had with this demonic unit the Nigerian Government created to end the life of the citizen they are meant to protect.
So, from Ikeja Under Bridge to Allen Bus Stop to ShopRite Bus Stop, we matched valiantly until we had reached The House of Representatives at Alausa.
The goal was simple; get either the Governor, his Deputy, or the Speaker of the House to come out and address us, while we tender to them a letter that houses our demands.
But guess what, none was ready to come out to address the people in which they swore to serve.
The Governor was said to have traveled to Ondo to support and campaign for APC. Quite laughable, right?
What about his Deputy? He was nowhere to be found.
And the Speaker?
None of them were ready to speak to us.
Well, we were not also ready to leave until any of these three men in power come out to address us.
We were not going to listen to anyone below the aforementioned ranks.
What Were the Demands Again?
- End SARS and Police brutality with immediate effect.
- Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
- Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of Police misconduct (within 10days).
- In line with the police act, psychological evaluation, and retaining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officials before they can be redeployed.
- Increase Police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and properties of citizens.
These demands seem right, simple, and logical, right?
But why is it so hard to carry out?
I guess it’s because some of the people at the helm of affairs benefit quite well from these crazy acts.
Address by the Deputy Speaker
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Eshinloku Sanni is fourth on the chain of power in Lagos?—?he’s not our cup of tea, yet we chose to listen to him.
He came and jabbers on and on, giving us reasons why we should go home and about how he will pass our request to his bosses and all.
They were just lame talks and false promises; a plot to play us, but our generation don wise up, a generation that is resilient and ready to make things right and work in Nigeria!
Address by the Chief of Staff
Mr. Tayo Akinmade Ayinde who is the Chief of Staff with the Lagos State Government also came to try out his luck on us, but you can almost guess, it didn’t work.
However, the spokesman for the 80million Nigerian Youth, Tope, was wise enough to inform Mr. Tayo about our decision to stay the night in front of the House of Representatives.
The man didn’t object, in fact, he said, “This is perhaps the safest place in Lagos to spend the night”.
The Royal Rumble
To our greatest surprise and utmost shock, 20mins after the Chief of Staff addressed us, the Police came with their Ak47 and big vans?—?two towing vehicles to tow away our cars if we don’t move them.
The other vans were used to take away our tents and chairs, leaving us with no choice but to leave.
But they have forgotten that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
Relentlessly, we took position on the bare floor with the skies naked above our heads, we held and locked arms into each other, as we roar the National Anthem.
The next thing we saw was that the entire lights of the hood went off… what were they trying to do now?
But at that moment, we did a headcount of the 43 of us present, including Mc macaroni, the popular Nigerian comedian.
Yes! we all went live on social media showing our friends and families what was happening…
…This singular incidence is perhaps what most Nigerian youths saw that made them troupe out the next day.
But here’s the question that has been lingering inside my head since the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre…
…what if they had shot at us?
The Address by the Governor and His Deputy
I think it is worthy to note that both the Lagos State Deputy Governor (Femi Hamzat) and the Governor (Babajide Sanwoolu) in that order came out much later to address us, but it was already late.
Too late in the sense that people at this juncture were already asking for more…
…plus, it is obvious that Mr. Governor does not have the executive order to end SARS by himself unless the President who is also the Commander-in-chief of the armed forces says so.
This explains why Babajide had to fly to Aso Rock to tender to the President, the petition the youth submitted in the urgent sitting that was held on October 9, 2020, at the House of Representatives, Alausa, Ikeja.
And guess what, when one of the demands was read to the hearing of Mr. President, he snickered.
What a President we have in Mr. Buhari!
The Shenanigans of the IGP
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, came out on the National TV to announce the Dissolvement of SARS, but a few hours later, in Ogbomoso, 8 whooping people were recorded dead.
Somewhere in Abuja, water cannons were being used aggressively on the Endsars Peaceful Protesters.
And you expect us to take the news that SARS has been dissolved hook, line, and sinker?
So what? We pressed on with the Endsars protest, again, peacefully.
SARS to SWAT
These people must really think we are jokers.
Few hours after claiming that SARS has been dissolved; They came up with another unit called SWAT.
Haba. Who does that now?!
What’s even the full meaning of this one?
Special Weapon and Tactics team.
Doesn’t that name sound familiar?
Yeah, it sure does.
In the United States of America, for example, SWAT is a group of highly trained and skilled experts whose job description is to respond to the most volatile situations, including riots, high profile rescues, and even dignitary protection.
The question that however begs an answer is, if the IGP, Mr. Mohammed, knows the true meaning of SWAT or the roles and responsibilities they carry out in the first place.
That been said, I personally believe it is he who is either insane or unschooled who would 1) embrace and welcome the renaming of SARS into SWAT, and 2) accept it and go back to business as usual.
The youth are not oblivious of the Government ploys and demonic tactics to ride on her citizenry, so we continued with our Endsars Peaceful Protest.
The Unity and Number Scare the Shit Out of Them!
You know, for the very first time in over 60yrs, a new generation of youth with brains and innovative ideas, rose up to ASK for a NEW Nigeria, and guess what, they were in one accord.
Everyone SPOKE in ONE VOICE, tribe or religion wasn’t a barrier.
We all spoke for a common goal; to #EndSars, #EndBadGovernance, and #EndPoliceBrutality.
But I guess the Government wasn’t happy about this movement…
…they felt threatened.
I mean, how could you feel threatened when just a bunch of youths, who are obviously armless, are asking for their rights to LIVE and be taken seriously in their own country.
Introduction of Hoodlums
You see, the Nigerian Government and her rulers are just a piece of shit!
They thought the use of the police for the job would further cement and give credence to the outcry of the people, they had to introduce ‘hoodlums’?—?meaning bad and notorious Nigerian youths.
They couldn’t even properly cover their tracks…
…Yeah, because these guys were conveyed to our peaceful protest grounds with either SUVs or BRT.
We saw everything, and you can almost trust that there are pictures and videos to back up this claim.
The Prison Break (Michael Scofield Way)
What a joke of leaders we have in our beautiful country, Nigeria!
You release prisoners only to frame it on #Endsars peaceful protesters.
So, you claim there was a prison break, yet there were no casualties; the warders didn’t get hurt, nobody got hurt.
In fact, some of the prisoners had such ample time to grant interviews.
One said, he’s been locked up since 2016 or so, yet he looked so fresh and clean (considering the terrible state of prisons in Nigeria), This guy had a nice haircut, he was also wearing a 2019 Arsenal jersey.
Haha?! Come off it! The script was not well written.
Oh! By the way, where’s our President?
Where’s President Muhammadu Buhari?
In all these happenings, the President of Nigeria is nowhere to be found.
The people have waited and waited for him to come out of his shell to at least calm the situation, and to reassure us that all will be well.
But you can almost guess, it never happened!
Oh! It did happen, but that was after the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre.
Wait a minute… just a simple question.
Is this what Presidents like Trump of America or Macron of France would have done?
No, I guess.
A President who has the interest of the people at heart would have come out to address them the first day or at least the second day of the protest just so it doesn’t turn out bloody as it did or should I say, as they made it.
But then, this is Nigeria, where a dead leads the crowd of visibles.
You shouldn’t expect anything short of what has transpired in the last few days of silence or even, greater silence.
Not to worry. I will get to that in a bit.
For now, let’s talk about the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre.
Lekki Toll Gate Massacre: The Animalistic Approach of the Government in Power!
First, at this juncture, I have to be sincere, Gov. Jide Sanwanolu, before Tuesday night, has handled matters fairly well.
I mean he took it upon himself to fly all the way from Lagos to Aso Rock to meet with the President of Nigeria just so he could present the demands of the #EndSars peaceful protesters…
…Plus, the several other things he tried to do to ensure the situation is well managed.
Albeit, he spilled the beans when he kowtowed to the powwow of the so-called Sugar Daddy of Lagos.
He crossed the line by being a huge part of the people who ordered the shooting of the #Endsars peaceful protesters.
You know what, I see this entire plot as a greedy way of trying to retrieve a toll gate, which generates about N240million weekly for the government or should I say, for the man who calls himself, “The Jagaban of Lagos”.
I can only shake my head in disgust!
Tinubu, 68, calling himself the Jagaban of Lagos.
Who announces a curfew in the middle of the day, and even makes it compulsory?!
By the way, what is the meaning of curfew if not remaining where you are during the hours of the curfew.
I might be wrong, but that’s how I choose to define it.
And if you look at it very closely, that’s exactly what it means?—?be where you are and don’t roam about during the curfew.
Plus, in a state such as Lagos, where commuters; bankers, road-by sellers, business owners, get home sometimes 10 pm or 12 am into the night because of ‘Lagos Traffic’, a Governor declared a sudden curfew in order to justify the malevolence and mayhem he and his cabals were about to cause, by putting the lives of his people at risk
Should I burst your bubbles?
Many people were still out minding their businesses in other areas in Lagos, whilst the shooting in Lekki was being carried out.
Nigerians have been asking the questions:
Who ordered the shooting?
Why was the CCTV removed?
Why were the lights turned off?
No one has been able to answer that, except Babajide Sanwanolu saying they are “Forces beyond control”.
What a Governor!
And oh, just as a way to clear off the tracks, the so-called anonymous soldiers shot some protesters dead and take their bodies away!
So cruel and heartless!
Thank God for Instagram and IG live… Thank God for DJSwitch!
Even at that, some of these old fools called the things we saw as being photoshopped.
Nigeria, my country, what has happened to you?!
Well, October 20, 2020, is a day Nigerian youths will never forget?—?a day our true heroes and heroines fell to the brutal and animalistic shooting of The Nigerian Army.
Perhaps, I should educate these people a little bit.
There are three things a soldier holds dear;
1) The National Anthem
2) The National Flag
3) The sight of another soldier dropping his/her gun (It is a sign of surrender).
And guess what, these three things were in play on the night of the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre.
The EndSars peaceful protesters decided to take their seats on the protest ground where they were chanting the National Anthem, with their flags hoisted above their heads. Don’t forget that they were without guns or any sort of ammunition.
Yet the people in power, the Government and the Nigerian Army, whose ultimate job is to protect the citizen, felt the only thing they ought to do for defiling a foul-play-curfew is to shoot on these peaceful protesters.
It’s such a shame!
What about the palliative?
Yes, what about the palliatives that were supposed to be distributed amongst the people?
How is it that they were all kept in the warehouses across different locations in different states?
Our government really does have many questions to answer.
But the icing on the cake, the shocker, was when the President came out for the first time since the protest began to address the people but said nothing about the protesters fighting for their rights to live or about the ones who were shot dead in the process of this very peaceful protest.
My Pastor called it, 12mins of nothingness.
I mean how can someone say a lot, but said nothing?
That’s funny, right?
Well, that’s because the President is a clown, and he must think we are his puppets.
See, I think my pen has bled enough…
…I think and believe posterity will catch up with their lots!
Wait… Maybe I should even talk about the Oba of Lagos, about Agent Fashola, Desmond Elliot’s tomfoolery, or maybe about Majority Leader, Sanai (SOB) Agunbiade, who said he was planning to distribute the palliatives looted from his home in Ikorodu on October 25, the day of his Birthday?
I think it should be a story for another day.
For now, I’m going to rest my pen, and continue to hope and fight for a NEW Nigeria, where everyone lives with love, unity, and peace!
And please, if you are a TRUE NIGERIAN YOUTH, I implore you today with the love of whatever god you serve to get your PVC and be ready to perform your constitutional right to vote come 2023.
Yours in the struggle.
Byline: I’m Damie Adeyinka, a Creative Writer, Google-certified Digital Marketing Specialist, and a Photographer based in Lagos Nigeria.