The Night they Killed Nigeria
On Thursday October 8th 2020, Courageous young Nigerians took to the streets in what would be a peaceful protests against the extra judicial killings of a certain notorious unit of the Nigerian Police force known as SARS (Special Anti-robbery squad).
This was after a video that allegedly showed SARS officers shooting a man in Nigeria’s Delta State went viral.
The demonstrations brought major cities like Lagos and the capital Abuja to a standstill, threatening its already struggling economy.
SARS was set up in 1992 to tackle a growing problem of people stealing from each other using force in Nigeria.
The special unit was instilled to deal with cases of robbery and theft while ensuring the proper safety of lives and properties.
In a strange twist, the reverse would be the case as these sets became robbers against their own people. Extorting from Nigerians, torturing and killing them in the process, bearing a misguided attempt to fetch out cybercrime perpetrators.
Countless times, many innocent youths are mistaken for what is popularly called “Yahoo boys”. A set of cybercrime and internet fraudsters in Nigeria.
Though these so called Yahoo boys exist, but their acts, lifestyle and methods are often confused with innocent Nigerians who are enthusiastic about youthful exhuberance.
SARS will arrest you if you walk on the streets with a laptop bag, mobile device, put on a coloured hair or make dreds. They claim these are synonymous with the way of life of the Yahoo boys. Yes it’s that Pathetic!
It was in course to eradicate the ill treatment of SARS and end Police brutality, that led to the worldwide trending of the hashtag #EndSARS, #EndPoliceBrutality by brave youths who are tired of being oppressed.
So they took to the streets in the major cities of Lagos and Abuja, forming roadblocks, mounting and holding Protests points. Much to the dissatisfaction of the Nigerian Government who pleaded for the agitating youths to go back home and stop the protests, while they try to meet their demands.
The youths were not moved by such decision and asked for better agreements. Whispers of an impending Military retaliation on the protesting youths were circling.
But the horror of what happened at Lekki Toll gate, the night of Tuesday 20th October will forever remain in the country’s history.
The Lekki Toll Gate had been occupied by protestors for several weeks, since the early October intensification of the anti-police brutality demonstrations.
It has been a good natured affair; well-disciplined demonstrations, whose dispersed leadership has been constantly reminding those present not to give the police any excuse to intervene.
At 3pm, the cameras from the Lekki Toll Gate were removed.
Just before 7pm, the lights at the gate were turned off. Soldiers arrived, and started shooting.
It was pandemonium and they kept on shooting and shooting at protesters. It lasted for about an hour-and-a-half and the soldiers were actually taking up the dead bodies”.
Four witnesses told a news agency that soldiers fired at the protesters who had gathered in the Lekki district of Nigeria’s largest city in defiance of an indefinite curfew imposed hours earlier by the authorities.
Hundreds of people were at the site at the time of the shooting, which witnesses said took place around 7pm local time (18:00 GMT).
“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.
Scenes of protesters removing a bullet from someone’s wound and pleading for help were broadcast in a live video on Instagram by DJ Switch, a popular disc jockey.
Video verified by a media outlet showed men walking slowly in formation towards demonstrators, followed by trucks with flashing lights, and the sound of gunfire popping. Another video showed the toll gate itself, with a protester waving a Nigerian flag, as people ran amid the sound of gunfire.
People ran desperately to preserve their lives, while some brave ones knelt down in defiance waving the Nation’s Flag, despite being shot at multiple times.
Bodies pilled up in pool of blood, Humans massacred ruthlessly and their remaining parts scattered all over the ground like ashes burnt from a wood.
After the incident, 78 people were reported dead. A huge number for just one night. Perhaps one of the Darkest nights in Nigeria.
This will go down as one of the country’s worst ever Genocide. A heinous killing with sweat and Blood.