The worst deaths are the ones that could have been avoided. There’s a different kind of pain that comes with knowing that you would have been able to hear their voices or hold their hands or hear them laugh.
No. Wait. Scratch that.
All deaths are the worst kinds.
But the betrayal that comes with knowing that a government will allow psychopaths who are power-drunk and driven by the lust of money thrive in a system that enables them—a system where justice is a mere suggestion is a betrayal that brings a different kind of pain.
Nigeria has failed us in so many ways; the past few days have brought to light on a much bigger scale the kind of wickedness and injustice at play in the Nigerian police force and within our government.
This article is not about the “few bad eggs” it is about all of them, together, law enforcement agents and people in positions of power and authority who have let this country rot.
My heart bleeds. My heart is hurt, not just because the unemployment rate is high. Not just because education is terrible, it’s also not just because of the general corrupt state of our nation. We have so much to contend with.
This time, my heart bleeds for the people that we have lost.
My heart bleeds at the realization that our leaders will never willingly do anything about the illiteracy and poverty religious fault lines in the country so that they can have pawns to do their bidding and enact violence in exchange for a measly amount.
When I started this article, it was to be a tribute to lives that have been lost due to police brutality over the years and also to the 10 people who had been killed since the beginning of the protests a little over a week ago. That was supposed to be the worst of it.
On Tuesday, the 20th of October, 2020, it became clearer that the Nigerian government will kill its citizens simply because we DARED to ask them to stop killing us in the first instance simply because we found a voice to speak up against them. They decided that killing us was the best course of action.
I write this with so much pain in my heart. Real people; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends! Shot at at the Lekki toll gate, while they sat on the floor and held hands.
Their only form of defence was the Nigerian flag they held and the national anthem they sang.
The blood of innocent people was shed for no just reason.
They turned off the lights, turned off the CCTV so that there will be no evidence.
My heart is so hurt.
The hope that we found a few days ago, the Nigerian government is working so hard to crush.
Posterity will never be kind to them.
For the many lives we have lost, for the many comrades gunned down; we promise you, we will not forget. We will not be like the older generation who forgot about past genocides and who pretended like they never happened.
Though the hopes in our hearts may be frayed, though our strengths may wane, we promise that your deaths will not be in vain.
We will fight for a new Nigeria, a Nigeria with good and kind leaders. A Nigeria with strong systems. A Nigeria with no religious or ethnic divides.
We are compatriots, we have arisen.
We have heeded to the call of a new Nigeria.
Our fight will not be in vain.
We will build a nation where peace and justice will reign.
Though tribe and tongue may differ, we will stand in brotherhood.
The bloodied flag shall be our symbol of the truth that they are currently trying to deny.
It shall be a symbol of the peace we were denied and the battles we were offered instead.
We will count it as gain because we will not back down from this fight.
We will hand our children a banner without stain, but it will begin in our own time.
O God of all creation, grant this our one request. May we build a new Nigeria where no man is oppressed.
Nigeria will be blessed.