I am not a member of any political party. I am a Nigerian that believes in democracy and the Nigerian project.
Initially I was proud of the #ENDSARS protest, I had watched the online activities and I was really happy when they got it to the streets.
The moment I changed my mind was when I saw the likes of Sowore, Aisha Yusuf and Deji Adeyanju leading some of the protests and demanding buhari must resign,I knew it was no longer a simple protest against SARS. These figures are well known opposition figures and they had initially tried to use a proposed strike by the NLC (Nigerian Labour congress) in October to stage such a protest but couldn’t because the NLC decided to put off the strike as government had agreed to deal with labour’s demands.
Many of us had kept the focus on ending SARS without looking out for the sponsors who were changing the focus of the protest from asking government to sack SARS officers and end the unit, to becoming a carnival of sort and photoOP to get attention from Twitter, facebook and Instagram.
I believe most youths were shocked to have the demands agreed to by the federal government in a very short time. It wasn’t like that in the past. Nigerian government never agrees to the demands of protesters without negotiating with protesters first, this was shocking and somewhat interesting to most Nigerians.
The president accepted the demands of the protesters and agreed to enforce it within a short time. The president requested that the protesters provide representatives that will monitor and ensure the demands are enforced.
The protesters refused the offer of the president. They claimed they had no leaders because they were afraid of how government in the past called for negotiations and ended up bribing or jailing protest leaders.
This was now turning into something else. In-fact, it was looking more like an attempt to do an “Arab spring”. Overthrow the government through civil unrest like it happened in many Arab countries like Libya.
The likes of Aisha Yusuf turning up at protests like celebrity with many cameras and her iconic pose. Sowore bouncing all over Abuja and doing videos to add fire to the protest. Deji Adeyanju inviting many celebrities, inviting youths to come out on twitter and offering them Iphones. The protest had been hijacked by the opposition and their foreign collaborators from Diaspora were at work inciting the youth through social media.
The world was looking at Nigeria from the eyes of Lekki protesters from social media and didn’t see what was going on within the mainland.
Violence and destruction of properties had started brewing in some parts of Lagos. Looting’s and destruction of parked cars. Lagos-Ibadan express had been blocked off and traffic was at a standstill for more than 7 hours.
There was so much tension in the air ,many knew something was going to happen in a matter of days. Because the protest had started getting so many hot spots on major roads, to the discomfort of other citizens, and affecting commercial activities negatively.
The police and traffic officials were overwhelmed and soon stated looking weak and vulnerable.
The Lagos state government had ordered a curfew for Tue,20th October 2020, from 4pm to 6am. Many Lagosians started going home early , many businesses closed and before 4 pm most nigerians were off the streets except from protesters in Lekki tollgate who insisted that they wont obey the curfew.
The governor had announced that the protesters were creating panic by refusing to obey the curfew but the protesters were not having it, even though they knew there might be consequences for disobeying the curfew.
I got a video sent to my phone between 7pm and 8pm of activities going on at the Lekki tollgate of gunshots by the Army. I couldn’t make sense out of the video because it didn’t show any Army officers, only gun shots and scanty protesters who didn’t look like they were running from gun shots. I didn’t know what to make of it at first but I couldn’t believe the government could use the military on the Lekki protesters, because most of the youth in Lekki were children of the elite and celebrities.
News started coming in that there was a massacre in Lekki, that the army was shooting at protesters and many had died. many celebrities were mentioned from Eniola Badmus and DJ Switch and a few others.
By the next morning many police stations had been attacked , many policemen killed and mass looting of shops and businesses. It was like a war movie all over Lagos as many places were burning -BRT buses were burnt, over 100 brand new buses burnt down by hoodlums, Nigeria Ports Authority building on the Island, TVC, The Nation newspapers , Oriental hotels and many buildings that was claimed to belong to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
Rumors were spreading online that Tinubu ordered the Military to kill protesters at the tollgate because he owned the tollgate and was loosing a lot of money due to the blockade by protesters. This was however untrue, Tinubu has left government after being governor for 8 years(1999-2007) and laid a foundation for the blueprint of how Lagos would be in future and which has been working for more than 20 years.
He is not the owner of oriental hotels, though he owns the media outfit TVC and the Nations newspapers. The attacks on him was spontaneous and obviously carried out by professionals. There was word going round on social media that he had run out of the country to France and and his son, London. The man was right here in Lagos.
Deji Adenyaju, Sowore and Aisha had disapeared from the protest seeing the kind of damage done while the whole world joined to speak on the the alleged massacre of 78 protesters in Lekki.
A live video from one DJ switch, a female Dj had gone viral that she wasn’t dead as initially reported but was there as the Nigerian army gunned down 78 unarmed Nigerians and she helped carry 15 dead bodies into the army trucks that took the dead away to an army barrack mortuary.
Within 4 days, 22 Police personnel killed during the #ENDSARS protests in NIGERIA
….some roasted alive
….some stoned to death
….some clubbed to death
….some had their manhood severed and bled to death.
Scores of policemen and women brutalized, clubbed, and grievously wounded. And now hospitalized at their own expense
205 police stations/formations burnt down, destroyed or vandalized.
The protest had turned to anarchy with many civilians also killed in the unrest that started spreading nationwide.
As the police were being attacked, massive looting of businesses, banks and destruction of government properties was going on all over the country. Some Nigerians had managed to discover warehouses that were used by state governments to store Covid-19 palliatives meant for the citizens due to the economic effects of the covid-19 lock-down put in place for almost 6 months to control the spread of the virus.It is however unknown why they were not distributed by the States to their citizens while the pandemic was biting hard on the masses.
The president made a much anticipated broadcast appealing for peace and that the protesters should end the protest and leave the roads. he ordered that the state government should organize judicial panel to look into the activities of the SARS officials at state level and listen to victims of the dreaded police unite while investigating the alleged killing of protesters.
Though calm has resumed and Nigerians are counting their losses ,it is however unfortunate that most of the news circulating about the killing of 78 protesters by the army seems to be fake news.
A week into the fact finding mission by the Lagos state judicial panel has not received a single petition from families of any of the 78 unknown protesters in the past one week of the sittings of the panel.
The lawyer representing families of the protesters affected by the so called “Lekki tollgate massacre” Femi Falana, claims the families of the slain victims are afraid for their lives to provide evidence to the panel over the death of their loved ones. Its appearing that is not true at the moment because nobody has been able to name anybody that was at the protest and is missing or reported dead yet, most of the claims on social media have ended up being fake claims.
It is now obvious many of the deaths and destruction would have been avoided if the protesters had retreated from the protest the moment the president had agreed to the demands to end SARS and reform the police. The protesters also did not have a leader which made it difficult to control its activities. The initiator of the #ENDSARS Segun Awosonya had advised the protesters to retreat but was rebuffed by others who were getting funds from unknown sources to keep the protest going on.
He however left the protesters and had an interview on a TV station distancing himself from the protest and said the protest had been hijacked by elements who intended to destroy the country.
The several celebrities and persons at the fore front of the protests have not acknowledged their part in the destruction that has beset the nation in the wake of the protests. They have on the other hand remained online to push the divisionist agenda and to keep painting the government black, criticizing every move of government and individuals who appears to agree with and speak for the Government on the way to move forward from this situation.
While I strongly agree that Nigeria needs to be a better governed society, it is in the hands of the followers and the leaders. Our leaders need to come down from their high horse and listen to the pains of the ordinary Nigerian, The citizens also have to be good followers, do their part for a better society for all of us. Let the criticisms be less emotional and more issue based, Let the fake news stop before we destroy ourselves. The leaders we think we are fighting will all flee and leave us to it, We are the ones who will become refugees. Nigerians in diaspora should stop with the fake news and stop inciting those at home to destroy the country.
COORDINATOR: PATRIOTS FORUM OF NIGERIA