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Our Disillusionment with the Nigerian Government — #EndSars & Other Ponderings

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Sometime last year, a popular Twitter user fell under attack because of his reply to a comment on one of his posts. He declared, rather emphatically, that the military was not involved with the massacre of peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.

The #EndSars protests, which initially started out as rounds of peaceful and coordinated rallies in various parts of the country, went out of hand when hoodlums—allegedly mobilized by government officials for nefarious reasons, hijacked the protest grounds.

The military was called in to “handle” the situation, and handle it they did.

Military personnel stationed at the Lekki Tollgate carried out the 20/10/20 massacre, as it is now being called, at night. Dozens of people were killed, but government officials concerned themselves with silencing the protesters—in whatever way possible.

They lied to the youth; set paid hound dogs on them; made up false accusations to disparage their character; attempted to regulate their social media; blocked their bank accounts; and even went as far as seizing passports to prevent international travel.

The Twitter user that fell under the anger that had been brewing was quite unfortunate. He was a largely adored personality because of his philanthropy, but he threw himself under the bus with his ignorant statements.

 To cut it short, Mr. J (real name concealed) despite the startling evidence, did not believe that the military was involved with the killing at the Lekki tollgate.

Despite the many inconsistencies in the official statements and press releases by the involved bodies, Mr. J was of the opinion that the killings, which “allegedly” happened, to quote him directly, had to have been carried out by thugs who had been sent to hijack the protest.

His staunch loyalty to the government was then questioned when the question of who did the sending came up. As expected, Mr. J blubbered and blubbered himself into confusion. A deeper pit for a completely hypnotized fellow.

It is horrible and quite telling that such a thing happened at such a time. Today is the 25th anniversary of the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the others. They murdered him and his comrades in cold blood because they refused to continue being denied, manipulated, and cheated out of the full enjoyment of their resources.

Their resources were plundered and it left their communities in a dejected state. The same oil that had made many individuals billionaires three times over also rendered dozens of families destitute because of the environmental pollution and lack of development in the communities with oil wells.

It was, literally, pillage.

The oil explorations destroyed the land and polluted their waters. In a blink of an eye, many villagers lost their income, as they could no longer fish in the rivers. Nothing has been done to recompense those individuals for the losses they suffered.

If a fraction of the monies garnered from the exportation of the liquid gold had been used for infrastructural development in the south, I reckon it would not have gotten as bad as it did.

Summarily, while the landowners in the affected communities languished in abject poverty, the movers and the shakers kept running out of spots to keep their loot and started patronizing graveyards.

A band of revolutionaries, led by Ken Saro-Wiwa, lost their lives because they dared to say, “We see what you are doing. We have eyes on our heads and can see clearly that this is not a profitable relationship. We are no longer interested in being exploited. If you had any mercy at all, you would listen to us.”

They were killed and accused of treason and have not been pardoned until date.

With all this, one has to wonder if it is a cycle. It started that way and the end is pretty much what we see today.

Innocent lives are wasted because, rather than the government doing their jobs properly, they choose to do away with the complainant altogether. Killing two beds with one stone.

When the protest started, many elders predicted the end. They had seen it all before and the end was not pretty. Dozens killed by a negligent government were not a new story.

It almost feels like the government is out to remind us—in as many creative ways as possible—that they will always be against us: today it is a laced threat to our lives because we refuse to be silenced and tomorrow a woman is being ostracized by a hypocritical religious community because of her outfit.

Apparently, the less than ideal rate of brain drain in the country is of no importance to our dear president.

If I had a visa, I would leave this country immediately. Underappreciated, insulted, unemployed and hungry. The cycle repeats itself. 

That word haunts me—allegedly.

If there was ever a case of gaslighting, this is it. At the end of the day, all the complaints and queries put forward by the protesters and the youths sounded to them like the tantrums of a petulant child.

Allegedly, means whatever happened may have been a figment of our imagination.

 Just poverty and illegal killings should not have caused such an uproar. It has happened before, but this generation is pissed. What a bunch of lames.

The worst are the gatekeepers. The ones that represent themselves as allies, but come up with outlandish theories to defend the government—even when faced with evidence.

 Nothing works here. The nepotism and blatant sexism will keep any dreamer in check. They will remind you of your insignificance at every treacherous point in your journey to the top.  

Only members are welcomed into the choice seats of power. To get into this sect, sell your soul and values. If you dream of making changes after being admitted, watch them throw the sturdiest leash on your neck.

Some people might look at this overblown essay and think I am being hysterical. However, this is the reality of our lives.

As a university student, I cannot reconcile the present happenings with the rosy dreams I had for my future as a child. I want to be successful, but I fear what that would mean for my life.

Nobody cares, and the sooner you understand the fact, the easier it will be for you. in

Ayebai-Preye

Hello! My name is Preye and I am a 2nd-year law student at the University of Porthacourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. I love writing, reading and Korean dramas. When I am doing neither of these things, I can be found manifesting my inner Tina Snow on the dance floor.

Hi! What do you think?