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...NOT IN THISDAY STYLE? THEN YOU’RE NOT IN STYLE

18, 2020 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25,

20 10 2020 T H E A F T E R MAT H From the blood, tears, sorrow and ashes of the #EndSARS protests, a new Liberation Generation is born... 60 years after Independence

S R A S D N #E

T! S E T O R P T E RE T S HE T OM R F ES C I VO


CONTENT

For twelve days the Lekki Toll gate was seized by the #ENDSARS protesters. It was alleged the protest cost Lagos state over N234 million in revenue. The lekki shooting came to light when the peaceful #ENDSARS protests was hijacked by armed military men who started shooting at people even though the protest was peaceful and everyone carried the Nigerian flag. This act has caught global attention and sparked one of the most destructive rampages the city of Lagos has ever seen. STYLE team report...

THISDAY STYLE FASHION DIRECTAOR/EXECUTIVE EDITOR RUTH OSIME

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EDITOR PRINT OLUFUNKE BABS-KUFEJI EDITOR DIGITAL KONYE NWABOGOR

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SENIOR ART DESIGNER MATHIAS ARCHIBONG 07054965500 CONTRIBUTORS RUKY SALAKO ISIOMA USIADE IYANU AYODELE GUEST CORRESPONDENTS AZUKA OGUJIUBA ZINA ANUMUDU JOANNA MACGREGOR SEYI ALAWODE PHOTOGRAPHER TY BELLO DIRECTOR, PRINT PRODUCTION CHUKS ONWUDINJO 08077092196

HOW IT ALL STARTED AND WHERE WE ARE NOW PG 4

PROTEST IMAGES PG 18-19

TWEEPS PG 6-7

PG 20-21

#ENDSARS: THE YOUTH TAKEOVER PG 8-12

CANDLE NIGHTS IMAGES

PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES PG 22

NIGHT OF LIGHTS AND REMEMBRANCE PG 16-17

In the early 60s, the likes of Obafemi Awolowo Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello to mention a few, fought for Nigeria’s Independence. Since then, we have had problems and challenges. But now, a new generation is rising up and we call them the Liberation Generation who will liberate Nigeria from corruption, police brutality and bad leadership. They are the ones who can rescue Nigeria and take it back to the promised land. They have begun a movement that, though thwarted for now, is certainly not the end. They have the courage and strength it takes to go the long haul in their protest. They have age on their side and are more than ready to fight for a greater tomorrow. Many counties have risen from the hands of tyranny and abuse of power. It was taken from their hands to the hands of those who know how to use it better. It is simply a question of time. The youths have refused to sit back and watch their future turn to shambles. They will not relent in their cause. Neither will they be discouraged by the obstacles faced in their fight for change. Their fire will not be dimmed neither will their desired goal be overcome. The world is their oyster and they remain determined until the clock of time beckons to their call. Those that blame the youths for ‘causing’ the Lekki shooting aftermath of their protests are not being fair at all because peaceful protest or not, the state of the nation today was already a ticking bomb that would inevitably have exploded sooner or later as a sign of the times. The President’s much awaited speech as a response to these shootings left the youths speechless! Nothing was said about the loss of innocent lives at the hands of SARS operatives which lead to their peaceful protest in the first place! No announcement of provisions for the family of the lost victims neither was there announcement of the murdering culprits being brought to justice! Did these youths die for nothing? Are their lost lives not even worthy of a mention from the ‘Father of the nation?’ And even worse still, the big elephant in the room was not also mentioned - the Lekki shootings! The President’s mode of delivery, his body language and all that was required of him to ease the tension on the land - was totally absent. He might as well have been reading the menu for the day! Instagram: @thisdaystyle | Twitter: @thisdaystyleon | Instagram: @thisdaystyle | Website: www.thisdaystyle.ng

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#EndSARS

STYLE & DESIGN

20.10.2020 T H E A F T E R M AT H

THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

#EndSARS

VOICE FROM A PROTESTER

HOW IT ALL STARTED AND

Good morning, In 2 weeks Nigerian youth created an administration that worked. • We raised funds. We fed thousands of people, people were actually returning food saying “i have eaten, pass it to people at the back”. • We provided security for ourselves. • We set up a legal team that bailed protesters out of police dungeons. • We created a health care system that worked. • We created a call center, basically our own 911 that you could call for ANYTHING protest based. • We provided basic amenities. We made sleeping on the protest grounds more comfortable than what many Nigerians had at home. And we did it together. Everybody just stood up one morning and said “i can provide this”. And they did.

WHERE WE ARE NOW! BY AZUKA OGUJIUBA

As history has shown, Obafemi Awolowo Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello to mention a few, fought for Nigeria’s Independence. But the Nigeria they fought for then has over time, been riddled with problems and challenges that have grown worse with every decade of its 60 year Independence. But the new generation have risen up to say ‘No More’! They are the Liberation Generation who will do everything within their power to stop the corruption, police brutality and bad leadership that has driven us to where we are today. They have refused to watch the country degenerate further because it will affect their tomorrows! They intend, with dogged determination, to take Nigeria from the brink of collapse and breath life back into it...under their watch. Lekki shooting came to light when the peaceful #ENDSARS protests was hijacked by armed military men who came to the ben with guns and started shooting at innocent people causing havoc and mayhem amidst the peaceful protesters. The protest started in 2017 as a Twitter campaign using the hashtag to demand for the Nigerian government to eliminate police brutality as youths have been maimed, raped, tortured, bullied and made to withdraw monies from their personal accounts with some of them even shot to death! Till date, none of the culprits have been held accountable for their inhuman actions. One of the originators of the protest, Ruggedman, began his campaign on social media to protest about these notorious activities. In return, many Nigerians came out to share their own harrowing experiences in the hands of SARS. Another propelling moment in 2020, was Wizkid’s twitter to the President where he asked the President to focus on the issue of the police brutality on ground rather than sending felicitations to President Donald Trump and his wife Melanie when they contracted Covid-19. Nigerians took over from where Wizkid stopped on twitter. The Twitter banter between Omoyele Sowore and Burna Boy also trended concerning this issue. Naira Marley was supposed to start his peaceful protest but the Nigerian Police spokesman, Frank Mba, quickly reached out to him to cancel the protest. He convinced Naira Marley to have an Instagram live conversation with him but Marley got a lot backlash for this.

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The protests were sparked by a viral video allegedly showing SARS officers killing a young man in the southern Delta state. The Nigerian Authorities denied the authenticity of video. Furthermore, the man who filmed the video was arrested, provoking even more anger. Immediately after, Runtown posted, followed by Falz and the momentum gathered! The Nigerian Youth gathered and gathered - led by no leaders but united in one voice to demand an end to SARS and Police Brutality. This protest shook the presidency, the Nigerian police, the political leaders, the businessmen and the corporate world. Africa and the world at large, took notice with supporting protests happening in Europe, America and many other cities around the world. This got global celebrities and political leaders also posting their views on twitter. Aside from this, they were also very brave and actively vocal Nigerian front liners with strong following. The roles played by Aisha Yesufu, Feyikemi Abudu to mention a few can never be undermined in value. For twelve days the Lekki Toll gate was seized by the protesters. It was alleged the protest cost Lagos state over N234 million in revenue. Small Dr was also at Agege protesting where a massive crowd showed up to render their support. Mr Macaroni, took his protest to the Lagos state seat of power at Alausa. The Alausa protest ground became permanent like the Lekki toll gate with free food, water and drinks supplied daily. Those who also donated cash and kind to meet the needs of the protesters are greatly appreciated Also, a lot of NGO’s like the Feminist Coalition, charity organizations and church leaders lent their voices to address the peacefully protesting youths. The Feminist Coaliton, an NGO run by 14 women successfully funded these protests. They provided food, shelter, legal aid and medical assitance to the affected protesters across Nigeria. In total they were able to raise N147,855,788.28 in just two weeks! They operated within a decentralized system which made it harder for the government to communicate. The message was clear #ENDSARS and it was believed that if the government wants to communicate, they should speak to everyone.

While the movement in Lagos was going on, other artistes like Flavor, Phyno, Zoro and KayCee were leading the protests in the Eastern part of Nigeria. DAVIDO also was present at the protest in Abuja and even had a meeting with the IG of police Mohammed Abubakar Adamu and Police Public Relations officer Frank Mba. Wizkid led the protest in London and Nigerians in different parts of the world led their protests some of which ended at the ambassador or high commissioners’ residences and offices. Never has the world heard the youth’s voices with the loudest ovation! But the biggest mistake the Lagos state government made was the lekki shooting! These youths were unarmed but the Nigerian military still shot at them holding the national flags that should have prevented them from being shot at. On that fateful day, 20:10:2020, a curfew was announced for 4pm and it was implemented. Same day it was extended to 9pm even though as expected, the youths were already out

The national outcry is how ruthless, unprofessional and corrupt these SARS officers have operated all over the country. The youths have been maimed, raped, tortured, bullied and made to withdraw monies from their personal accounts with some of them even shot to death! No officer has been punished for any of these crimes till date.

by that time after respecting the initial time frame they were given. Shockingly, the military men arrived at the toll gate by 7pm, and commenced shooting. DJ Switch captured the moment and quickly had her IG Live on. She also begged Nigerians to record her live. The evidence of slaughter, blood,

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STYLE & DESIGN

pandemonium and tears were all caught on camera. This, is what gave the protest global attention as a video showed people struggling to remove bullets from the bodies of some of the victims shot. One of the main organizers, Feminist Coalition, for example, was prepared to pay private companies for protection, but they refused, citing fear of official reprisal which emboldened the thugs. This same army/security that unleashed bullets at peaceful protesters were suddenly no where to be found when Lagos was held captive by hoodlums! The Lagos state Governor, SanwoOlu, has given extensive interviews and made it very clear that he played no roll in the lekki shooting. Before Tuesday night, he had handled matters fairly well. His visit to the President to present the demands of the #ENDSARS movement, his regular engagement with the youths benchmarking the state’s commitment to their demands, were signs that he was connecting with the youths more than any other governor! But alas, this ‘connection’ was usurped by the atrocity that happened under his watch. How was it within the powers of the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to declare a curfew published within hours of enforcement, but beyond him to contain the consequences? There are those who insist he should have gone to the venue when he realized what was going on and stood in solidarity with them. Many felt that singular act alone would have endeared him to them even more. Also, after realizing what was happening, he could have engaged citizens as events were unfolding through any of the multiple channels available to him, instead of waiting till the next day to promise a futile investigation. That too, would have earned him a lot more respect. The governor has pleaded several times for unity and growth in reconciling his citizens. He is first to admit that he was elected by these same youths and his allegiance to them should come first before anything else. He reminded the youth of the steps has taken and is still taking to ensure their demands are met in his state. It is a long road still for him to bridge the gap and we can only pray that he rises to the occasion. Every year, 20:10 should be a Remembrance Day for the Lekki massacre, the painful Black Tuesday. May the souls of the heroes lost Rest In Peace.

*What did the government do in return?* • First they tried to look for who to bribe. They kept asking “who is your leader”? We responded: “We have no leader”, “Jimoh/Chijioke is our leader,

raise him from the grave and talk to him”. They didnt have anyone to bribe or intimidate. • Next, they tried to sow seeds of discord and confusion, saying “Igbos are this, Muslims are that, CoVID19 is spreading ... “. We responded “Okay. We will tolerate eachother now and your bullets have killed more people than CoVID19” • Finally, they weaponised the poverty they created. They sent thugs in the North, thugs in the west, thugs in the south. They paid 1500 naira. Do you know how much poverty of the mind and soul, a person has to be in, to accept N1500 to maim people? • They sent these people to disrupt our peaceful protests, to loot, to cause mayhem so that they could have an excuse to give the world. • And finally, they sent in the Nigerian Military. The people that are sworn to defend Nigerians. Guns blazing, they came. Shooting at peaceful people. They shot at people who sat on the floor, singing the national anthem and raising flags. • They took away the dead bodies to erase evidence. They took away the

BY ZINA ANUMUDU/ JOANNA MACGREGOR

cameras and burnt the ones the could not disconnect. • But we had our phones. The protests that started on our phones were broadcasted using our phones. The evidence is public. It can never be erased. Now we know this poverty is not a mistake. The high illiteracy in this country is not a mistake. We know that the government has to keep people suffering because they need poor and uneducated people to carry out their orders. _While we tend to our wounds, the fight is not over. We will restrategise and come back. We had hope for 2 weeks. People died to keep the hope alive. So we will come back._ _We will interact with the uneducated and poor ones in our communities. We will educate them. We will help those we can. We will let them see how this is also their fight. We will let them understand that they are helping their oppressors. And then, We will come back. We are sad. We are upset, We are angry. But we have not given up._ #ENDSARS

BY ZINA & JOANNA

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STYLE & DESIGN

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

STYLE & DESIGN

THISDAY Style Vol. 22, 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

STYLE & DESIGN

FROM: T.A

#EndSARS

THE YOUTH TAKEOVER BY SEYI ALAWODE

We are 16 young Nigerians. We are sick and tired of the maltreatment of our youth in the hands of a trigger-happy police force and a cruelly oblivious government. #endSARS is a youth-led mobilisation. Yet, our voices have yet to be represented in national mainstream media. We are artists at heart and have thus decided to use our art as a means of protest, to make our voices heard in the only way we know how. In a country that weaponizes silencing, our artistic self-expression is our activism..

Over the next few pages, you will come across articles, photographs and artwork that communicate our frustration. All 16 of us have been fighting to #endSARS either on the physical or digital frontlines, in some cases both. As such, you will feel the passion in our various pieces, as we continue to fight to be seen, heard, represented and protected. We encourage the generation reading this, to amplify the voices of the generation you raised. We are 16 young Nigerians, and this is what we have to say.

Words From The Generation Fixing A Country That We Didn’t Ruin From: SA I’m back. To those that remember, we meet again. To those that don’t, my name is SA. When I was 19, I periodically wrote articles for this publication, designed to help bridge the gaps between my generation and our parents’. I wrote about feminism, sexism, education, mental health amongst young people etc, carefully ensuring I was communicating in a way that was palatable & politically friendly enough for parents to digest. Now 23, a business owner, much more confident with much less of a filter, I’ve got some things to say. And this time, I won’t be taking the friendly route. Why? Because young Nigerians -- myself included -- are TIRED. Frankly speaking, we’re sick of picking up the pieces from a broken Nigeria, yet being deemed ‘lazy’ as we do so. It’s boring having to teach your parents why feminism is important. It’s equally exhausting trying to communicate that having dreadlocks doesn’t make you ‘wayward’.

FROM:JA All I heard growing up was “children are the leaders of tomorrow.” It is something that was said to us over and over again and as a child I believed it. To me, it meant that even though the country wasn’t great at the time, we would still have the opportunity to change it. Now that I am older, I am stuck wondering “Who is going to lead tomorrow now that we are all as good as dead?” I believe that there is a huge disconnect between this generation and the older ones. By default, as young people, we are surrounded by so much creative energy. Being creative is not as traditional as it used to be, back when it was limited to drawing really well or having a passion for theatre and singing. Being creative is incorporated into our daily lives. It translates into our dressing, our hairstyles and even our personality traits. The point is, creativity is who we are. That, coupled

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Nor do piercings, or being opinionated & thinking for yourself, regardless of what *that* Aunty thinks. Matter of fact, it is on these very irrational grounds that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad justifies its merciless killings of young Nigerians. The very same rhetoric that you - yes you perpetuate. As you sit in your comfortable homes reading this, young Nigerians -- ie YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS -- are risking their lives fighting for the abolition of the above mentioned ‘organisation’. For the past few days, we’ve been fighting on the digital front (social media) and physical front (mass protests), raising global awareness of the maltreatment and straight up bullying of young Nigerians by SARS. Thanks to the sheer determination of a no-nonsense generation, the topic has trended worldwide on Twitter for consecutive days. Millions of tweets are being sent per day, using either the #endSARS, #SARSMustGo, #SARSMustEnd hashtags, and many others. This has garnered international attention for the cause, something we know is the final (and only) straw for our politicians to respond.

ARTWORK BY M.A

with the constant and ever changing technological advancements, has summed us up as a generation. I think that to an extent, everyone has a fear of the unknown. The older generations have misconstrued

I recall complaining to my mother a few years ago about the authority figures in my secondary school. We were sitting in hot Lagos traffic while I ranted about the school being run like a fascist state: the administration could change the rules whenever they felt like with no accountability, there were no repercussions for teachers who lied against or mistreated us, and nobody was listening to the students on the issues that really mattered. I told her some of us were thinking of protesting. In response, she told a story. Once, her younger sister had taken part in a protest against a landlord in her university who had predatory renter’s policies. Her sister had stood at the forefront of the protest, placard and spirits raised high. When all was said and done, nothing happened

FROM: EA I believe every generation has its own burdens to bear. These burdens are cyclical. The same we face have also been faced by those before us, and those before them. As these cyclical burdens begin their new phase, they carry the weight of all others thus far, forming a congealed force composed of all elements raised against each previous generation. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes clear to the new populace, and it has for us, violently so. I’m not comfortable laying the blame of any situation on a group as large and nebulous as a “generation.”

ARTWORK BY M.A

For a long time, your generation has gotten away with blissful ignorance. You’ve settled for a mediocre Nigeria and have either blamed us for it, or simply pretended these issues don’t exist. Only

ARTWORK BY R.I

our entire existence because they lack understanding of who we are. Ordinarily, a person misunderstanding you can easily be shrugged off. You can wave it aside and say “Hey, it doesn’t even matter. I’ll keep doing me.” However, in this case it just does not apply. We are not safe as youths because of these misconceptions. It is one thing when a person does not understand you but an entire generation? The generation that rules over us? The generation that occupies all

this time, we won’t let this carry on. I’m here to use the power of my words to make you acknowledge this truth, and I’ve brought on an army of talented creatives with me.

the lawmaking offices and official government roles? We are not safe. We are not safe because they think that by the colour of our hair, they know us. They think that by the size and make of our phones, they have figured us out. They believe that their level of wealth can never be less than ours and so they attack. They attack us without reason or understanding. They continuously perpetuate these stereotypes and false narratives to demonise us. Even though we came directly from them. Who gave you the right to decide that I am a criminal because I carry a laptop? Who told you that the fact that I am driving a nice car at 22 means that I am a fraudster? Where do these things even come from? Your leaders of tomorrow are tired. We are not safe in a country that claims to be for us but shows us otherwise on a daily basis. We can not lead if we are dead. Tomorrow is today. It is time to abolish these foolish stereotypes and more importantly, End SARS.

THISDAY Style Vol. 22, 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

STYLE & DESIGN and all the students who were identified as taking part in the demonstration were evicted. She didn’t say much else after that, but the message was clear: you can’t win. I have always been interested in why the older Nigerian generation as a collective is so aggressively obedient. When you study Nigerian history, there are multiple incidents of our forefathers resisting and organizing, from Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and the Abeokuta women to Fela’s political lyrics to university students in the late 20th century. This occurrence is nothing new, yet the anti-SARS protests have been regarded by some as the product of mere youth recklessness. I suspect a part of it has to do with colonialism. The white men introduced religion and assimilation which brought with it the use of submission as a tool

for maintaining law and order. Military rule introduced another dimension where speaking out against injustice could have you killed, and violence was routine. Seun Kuti recently described this social agreement as a slave-slave master relationship. What Nigeria is witnessing is the youth’s rejection of this complacency. In our homes, we are reminded of adages such as, “The okra tree can never grow taller than its planter.” We are forced to accept any kind of treatment in the name of respecting our elders but while some elders are indeed bastions of wisdom, others are just bullies who use the culture of respect as a shield to hide their insecurities. Deference to the norm has not gotten us anywhere, and Nigerian youth want to one day stop hearing, “E go better.” The powers above may be the ones at

fault, but our parents are partly to blame for the problems Nigeria faces today. Not only for being so docile but also for encouraging some of the stereotypes SARS officers weaponized — for instance that dreadlocks, tattoos, and ripped jeans negate respectability. Most of them have grown so accustomed to bribing and fighting their way through the corrupt system they created that this movement to reverse it is seen as a threat. #EndSARS is about unfair policing, but it is also a microcosm of all that Nigerian youth have been prevented from enjoying — safety, stable electricity, world-class education and so much more. With the resistance, we do not only reject state-sanctioned violence; we also reject bullying by the elders and being treated as though we are of secondary importance. The youth are speaking, and you better listen.

A better way to view where we stand, and where they stood, would be to look at all components at play at both periods in time, and use these to take into account what lay within the realm of possibility. We, children of the late 20th and 21st century, are luckier than all others thus far in that we have most access to the tools to resist the state in its many forms, -whether it be its ideological war on our freedoms (body, speech, belief ), or its wicked, murderous assault on our autonomythese tools have never been as widely dispersed. At this moment, our immediate enemy is the second instrument of our oppression. We are fighting for the

right to live. We youth face shackles at every turn, with every move. Every shift away from the enforced norm is policed, cornered, and chained. Every form of deviance is met with hostility on all fronts. From the home, the place most welcoming, to the worship centres, where one seeks guidance, and in the wider world, where one expects, at least, a semblance of freedom instilled by burgeoning adulthood. Instead of granting these freedoms, the government bars us. Sending at our necks, black birds of prey- chickens, amplified to hawks, by talons, their tools of capture; piercing beaks, their tools of suppression; and enormous feathers, supported by

a complex network of intertwined pieces -bone, flesh, blood of the state; lifting them above the general populace, answerable to no one but empty skies. Our goal is to bring down this hawk, come together to drain it of its life force. At this moment we face SARS, one of the life forces of this system, and from there, hopefully, every arm that gives power to the rest of the body. We cannot lose sight of this goal of dismemberment, else these parts will be regrown, and the tortuous cycle continues, taking what its learnt from our current efforts, and using that knowledge against our next instance of resistance -making the ultimate task ever more difficult.

ARTWORK BY M.A

many of our parents and grandparents were privileged to have. Thankfully, it is 2020 and the internet is slowly but surely levelling the playing field. It has given more people access to educational resources, job opportunities and information; filling a gap the government has left wide open. Social Media has become a powerful tool, and any attempt to stifle free speech will be met with more resistance; know this and know peace. The joy that comes with the solidarity in protesting, both online and on the ground, is something every Nigerian deserves to feel. As we continue to demand accountability in every aspect of government, let us look within ourselves and refute bigotry in all its forms. Let go of tribalism, religious intolerance and classism; we are not our parents, we will not be divided. I am 20 years old, and I want to believe in a Nigeria that works. I understand the journey to that Nigeria is treacherous and long, but the labours of my heroes, Anthony Onome Unuode, Tina Ezekwe, Iloanya Chijioke, the 100s of people at the Lekki toll protest on the 20th of October 2020 and all the beautiful souls we have lost in this fight, will never be in vain. Oh, and to the Telcos and Banks also hindering change, 61% of Nigerians are younger than 25 years old and the people never forget, good luck.

‘Wahala for who no fear Gen-Z’ FROM: C.N I write this from a place of grief and disappointment. I am 20 years old, and I have never known a Nigeria that works. The events of the past two weeks filled me initially with joy, hope and pride; Though, as the second week came around, my friends and I knew nothing but anxiety, heartache and anger. These are a lot of emotions to feel at once, but as a young Nigerian, it is nothing new. The #ENDSARS protests symbolize a generation of people who have not only decided to say no to police brutality, but have shown that the organization and accountability the nation lacks are stifled, not absent. Ironically, the same phones young people have been accused of using to ‘waste their time’ are the same phones we have used to organize protest logistics, legal aid, welfare relief and crowdfunding. A protest with no face and one agenda. The protesters have experienced it all – brute force from security operatives, infantilization by our elected officials and complacency and ignorance from many members of society, especially people in the older generation. First, to the elected officials reading this, we are not your children, we are your constituents. Frankly, I find the

government’s continuous attempt to discredit the movement by presenting the protesters as ‘children in need of guidance’, appalling. Many of you have failed at your jobs. You were birthed into a Nigeria with working systems, good education, access to amenities and employment. But here you are, decades later, refusing to leave the helms of power, and determined to continuously exploit this system even if this means weaponizing poverty & illiteracy, feeding the international media a twisted narrative and gunning down peaceful protesters as they sing the words “the labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain”. Are you not ashamed? Is it because your children roam the streets of New York and not Lagos? The complacency of several people in this administration regarding these protests is worrisome but not surprising. Nigeria thrives on respectability politics that first recognizes power, which often comes from money, then recognizes age. The problem with this logic is, age does not always come with wisdom, and money does not always come from hard work. Many older Nigerians have allowed themselves to marinate in a system that gives them the bare minimum and expects them to be grateful for it. Regrettably, for the leaders of this

country, my generation did not inherit this ideology. As an average Nigerian, you are a terminal illness or tragedy away from extreme poverty. Education, employment and decent healthcare are not guaranteed simply because we refuse to tell the truth as a people. Our system is not working. Younger Nigerians have been mocked and chastised for the failure of those who came before us. If it is not ridicule for watching Big Brother, it is scepticism of unconventional remote work. Our students have to walk a mile and a half just to access the opportunities

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

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‘The price we pay for the sins of our father’ Nigerians born between 1960 and the 1980s like to make a point. When they decide to do that, they do it in the most malicious and grueling way. If you looked at this behavioural trait very well, you will find that it is not their fault. Instead, their acquiescence with pain and violence is the result of the social and political environment they lived in during their formative years. From 1966, the year the country ushered itself into civil war, these people were gradually primed to derive satisfaction in seeing others, especially those who they share different positions with, in discomfort. They witnessed massacres against others; sometimes they were the ones carrying out the massacres; and other times they were the victims. By the time they were easing themselves out of the damage the civil war had done to them, there was an increase in armed robbery in the country. The government reacted to this by making people witness almost the same thing they saw during the civil war — public executions. There was an upset in the way many people, especially those in Lagos, spend their weekends. The bar beach, for example, where many people go to relax and where white garment people do their celestial things became known as a place to watch live firing squads in action. Depending on how you look at it, many people visited the Bar Beach in Victoria Island for different reasons: Some did so to watch the execution of criminals because they derived recreational pleasure from it; some go there to remind themselves as to why they must never be part of a robbery (which was what the government wanted initially). The agenda of the government kicked in even further. People, whose reaction to seeing others killed and punished due to the civil war, were further de-sensitised. It got to the point where they started taking their children, the stubborn ones who were not up to 18-year-old, to witness public execution of armed robbers and kidnappers by the firing squad. Of course, when you asked older people who did this, they would likely argue that they took that decision to show their children why a life of crime was a bad idea. But what they did not realise was the insane aggressive cues registered in the minds of their wards. In theory, there are ways to curtail those aggressive cues, like the one many young people witnessed at the Bar Beach and the market where thieves were roast to death. An action like limiting exposure to the media could work — except that in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, access to the media was really low. And in fact, that generation of parents were actors in the acts of violence their children were exposed to — something they too

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The key role women have played in the fight to #EndSARS demands do not pose a threat to cisgender male life or the lives of those legitimately protected by the state. And with the movement’s current reliance on collective strength and support, rather than a reliance on an independent voice, women are showing that leadership is not a means to centre anyone’s experience above another but to highlight the many layers and structures that threaten our freedom. That is after all what feminism consistently promotes. The goal is complete abolition of oppression and many among us will have to kill their ego too. There is no revolution without empowered women and if these protests have shown us anything, it’s that the future is truly female. So let’s #ENDSARS.

FROM: N.B

ARTWORKS BY M.A

learned from their own parents. In fact, the first time some people experienced torture in their lives, their parents did it. From actions like smearing children’s private parts with red hot pepper, to scarring their bodies with blades and bundling them up with wire and tucking them under their bed. Many parents from that generation did these things for the most minor offences. Zero conversation involved. How do you expect people who went through this and who were active participants in these actions to understand young people’s fight against police brutality? See, those children who saw the civil war; those who witnessed the Bar Beach execution of Babatunde Folorunsho, Lawrence Anini, Ishola Oyenusi; the ones that saw thieves roasted in the market because you wanted to show them what happens to those who steal; they are still alive today, except that that humane fuse in them done burst. To fight for a better Nigeria that is devoid of oppression and suffering, we need to counteract all the systems that are put in place to maintain the status quo. These systems manifest themselves in numerous ways including but not exclusive to the social attitudes towards those we feel deserve to be the voice of the movement. Conversations around police brutality are often shaped by the men’s understanding

of what constitutes police brutality because their stories so frequently make the rounds on social media. Indeed, when Amnesty International conducted the first reported incidents of violence from SARS officers, many of the subjects spoken to were men and represented the ways in which police brutality pertains to them. But left out of the conversation were the ways in which gendered police violence is a product of a system intent on oppressing its citizens and a manifestation of everything we are currently working to dissolve. #EndSARS–and its many iterations do not exclude women’s experiences and have never excluded them because the feminist women who are at the forefront of this movement audaciously articulating their

THISDAY Style Vol. 22, 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

STYLE & DESIGN

FROM: T.M On the 4th of October 2020, thousands of young Nigerians left their homes and took to the streets to protest against police brutality orchestrated by the now-defunct unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Hours earlier, SARS in Ugheli Delta State had shot and killed a young man, and then shortly after, they had stolen the car that he drove. This sparked over a week of peaceful demonstrations across various parts of the country as young Nigerians took to the street to air their frustrations and anger against the extrajudicial killings committed by this rogue unit. Notably at the forefront of the offline and online protests has been young Nigerian women, particularly the involvement of the week-old group, the Feminist Coalition who have sustained protests in over 25 states in the nation. Through the actions of a private group of individuals who are not looking to be leaders of the movement, monetary contributions were crowdfunded and raised to provide a range of services such as legal support to those unlawfully detained, funding for those who had

ARTWORK BY R.I

lost families during the protests and food for those who were risking their lives every day in the face of a pandemic to exercise their right to

‘Thanks to social media, the youth have created an organised ecosystem with helplines to respond to the needs of the youth at the frontlines of the #EndSARS protests’ FROM:M.A In the last twelve days, the ongoing #EndSARS peaceful protests have spread globally, transcending the country’s borders and extending to foreign soils. Both home and abroad, Nigerians have marched in solidarity with a unified demand: an end to the years of unbridled violence imposed on citizens by the Nigerian Police Force - particularly from members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a now defunct unit. In just over a week and a collection of #EndSARS hashtags later, we are witnessing history unfold. Uprisings of this sort are not new in Nigeria. Back in 2012, the social media driven #OccupyNigeria protests erupted across the country as citizens took to the streets, outraged at the president’s announcement of a sudden spike in fuel prices due to the overnight removal of the fuel subsidy. History will also recall the ‘Enough is Enough’ protests back in 2010, as the then youth gathered en masse in a display of public anger over issues ranging from infrastructure failings, fuel shortages and power blackouts, while clamouring for a resignation of

the then ailing president. The common denominator between these two timestamps in Nigerian history and the #EndSARS protests, is the undeniable presence of the youth at the forefront. In all instances, the youth’s collective antipathy towards the bodies in power enabled them to lead the charge and demand for tangible change. But there is something very different about 2020’s #EndSARS protests. Social media, for one, has been employed as a fierce tool to fight oppression in a way like never before. Thanks to its ease of access and widespread reach, news of the protests is circulated in a matter of seconds, with updates spreading as quickly as they occur. Social media has given the movement the amplification needed to rally advocates from far and wide. For Rume, a vehement online protester, this is her first time being actively involved in a resistance of this sort. “A lot of the times when people rise up against the government, a lot of people usually get left out,” she tells me. “This time we’re all in the loop. We’re sending broadcasts on Whatsapp and people are compelled to listen, and as they do, they’re

lawfully protest for better governance and police reform. They have also been deeply accountable to the cause, endlessly providing a transparent breakdown on where the money from donations and sponsors go and

accurately giving detailed information about the release of unlawfully detained protesters. In the days since the protests kicked off, these women have faced harassment, impersonation, and threats of physical violence to their lives because of the active role they have taking in ensuring that no one gets left behind during this social movement. The spaces they occupy are no easy feat, however, their active involvement and that of many other Nigerian women has revealed how women experience police brutality and oppression in gendered ways, such as sexual harassment and sexual assault. When women from all across the country swarmed to the protest grounds to fight for transparent and accountable governance, they were once again reminded that the men that they rallied with could also be their very abusers and they were not wrong. Instances of women on the frontline being harassed and assaulted by male protesters were rife, and yet such cases have failed to mold how we engage with the ongoing protests for a better Nigeria.

The #EndSARS Protests Show That A New Nigeria is on the Horizon realizing they have something to share as well. Our goal is to spread and it’s spreading fast.” A gaping hole in Nigerian history is the lack of proper documentation of sporadic moments like this. Where traditional media have failed to aptly record the uprisings in real-time, and chosen instead to fuel harmful propaganda and false narratives, this time around, new age digital media publications like Zikoko, Stears Business, Native Magazine and More Branches have risen to the occasion to document the lived experiences of the youth. In addition, young people have built archives like endsars.com, creating outlets for people to share their experiences with police brutality and to ensure such experiences aren’t erased from our history. The #EndSARS protests is a decentralised one, with no official leaders, figureheads or representatives in place. Taking a page out of the yearold Hong Kong protesters’ book, it is a moment that has been created for the people, by the people. This new generation of Nigerian youth have demonstrated that they have learnt from the mistakes of the generation

before them. History has shown that leaders are easily susceptible to compromise, as integrity and commitment to a cause is often traded for a seat at the table. Hence, the #EndSARS protests have taken on a faceless form, with pockets of unofficial coordinators being formed all over the nation, bound by the sense of shared responsibility to reform the country. Thanks to social media, the youth have created an organised ecosystem with helplines to respond to the needs of the youth at the frontlines of the #EndSARS protests. Collectives like Feminist Coalition, a week old organisation of feminists, have served as distribution hubs for protests across the country, raising funds and granting access to any and everything from food to medical and legal aid. Everyone is more focused on playing their part and less interested in being spotlighted, and that’s why the protests have been so seamless, as Onyema, an online protester tells me. “The beautiful cooperation amongst the youths and supporters of the protest is what’s so different this time,” he remarks.

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

STYLE & DESIGN

STYLE & DESIGN

THISDAY Style Vol. 22, 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

SARS: The Village It Took and The Village It Will Take FROM: S.L On October 8, Nigerians, who had grown weary of the terror of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), convened in Lagos. The anti-robbery unit, formed in 1992, attacked the citizens it swore to protect. For over a week, Nigerians protested against the attacks concentrated on the youths whom they deemed suspect by their physical appearance: dreadlocks, piercings, tattoos, flashy cars, ‘indecent’ clothes, and more. However, these determining factors did not appear out of thin air. The idea that people who wear these accessories and sport dreadlocks are probable law-breakers or irresponsible persons is rooted and taught in our society: our schools, our homes, and our religious institutions. Olive, a nineteen-year-old girl, detailed her experience in her hometown, “I was in my village and on my way to watch the dancing masquerades in a black spaghetti dress. A woman in the crowd asked me, ‘where are you going dressed like that?’ She asked me to change

my outfit if I knew what was good for me. She said I was dressed indecently and would distract the men.” Such experiences are also familiar to young women who attend popular protestant churches in Nigeria. An anonymous sharer opened up about the profiling in her church, “The church ushers will stand at the gate and ask a girl who [is] wearing a kneelength skirt or shorter to go sit in the further rows. Sometimes, they would ask us to stand up and address us from the small pulpit. One time, they gave us wrappers to tie around our waist because they said we looked irresponsible.” Waheed, a young man with dreadlocks living in Lagos, spoke about his constant ordeals because of his hair. He reported that as a SARS officer held a gun to his head and said, “I will kill you, and nobody will do anything about it.” Waheed had also been previously harassed by the guards that patrolled his university. He was told to cut off his locs to avoid suspicion when he complained. We live in a society that believes some people are more deserving of

brutality than others; a society that rations humanity based on standards of appearance. As a result, people who claim to hate police brutality empower it when they justify its occurrence to people who choose to live differently. Wale Lawal, the founder and editor of The Republic journal, said of the ongoing protests and the discord between certain participating parties, “For once, people are speaking with one voice and they are saying they no longer want violence to be a language in this country. They have shown you the many dialects of violence. And now you are saying it’s okay if violence is spoken in some parts.” A popular preacher who once slapped a young woman on live television verbally supported the youths in their fight against police brutality. His comment was met with shock on social media by people familiar with his physical and emotional maltreatment of Nigerian youths. Many people who call out the actions of the violent police officers or hold placards in protest also contribute to the system of prejudice

through the stereotypes they promote in their circles. Although we have no access to the training of these police officers, we have power over which values we cherish in the society that births them. We can recognize that the humanity of people is not dependent on gender, sexuality, or religious beliefs. Although we fight against corrupt officers who harass people with their power, we must first realize that it is not the uniforms or the guns, but the mindsets of the people that carry these things, mindsets that thrive in and are encouraged by the average prejudiced Nigerian. The actions and beliefs of SARS, while amplified by their federal power, mirrors that of our society. Although we do not all have guns or badges to arrest people who choose to be different, we choose to endanger them by the ideas we build around their differences. Equally, we can choose to stand by them when violence speaks in their language, as we would hope for them to do when violence speaks in ours.

‘Exchange Rate’ by K.C x F.G FROM: F.A.A Ayotomiwa is my 5 years old son, just like his name and unlike the circumstances that led to his conception, he’s so full of happiness, joy and laughter. Watching him meticulously assist me with the little things needed for today’s donations, makes me wonder if he actually knows. It was neither the forceful penetration, nor the hundreds of thousands I had transferred under duress, it was the sound Tomiwa made as he battled between letting the bullets have their way and staying alive. You guessed right, the latter won. I was found the next day by the canal, rushed to the hospital and what not. I still remember the questions Mama had asked, “Why were you both out by 10pm” I had ignored her question because standing outside my apartment with my best friend at 10pm wasn’t supposed to be the question, it was supposed to be a rage filled how dare they? When did protectors turn predators? When did we become this unsafe and insecure? How do we get Justice for the death of my best friend?! Five months after the incident, after I had fainted at my therapist’s and was confirmed pregnant, Ma still had that resigned look on her face, she said it was my fate and was going to name my baby Fate. I declined and named him after my best friend; Ayotomiwa and he’s been living up to his name; Joy has found me.

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ARTWORK BY R.I

Today, we are joining a million and one other Nigerians in putting an end to police brutality, calling out the lack of transparency, accountability, competence and integrity in our security system. Today as we seek for the justice of all Ayotomiwa’s, all those who’ve been killed, abused, raped and lost to extra judicial killings, injustice and a failed system. Today, as we disown the silence of our parents and scream our lungs out for our safety and the future of our younger ones, I hope the government stops acting out the failed scripts handed to them by their predecessors, I hope they break this vicious cycle, I hope the next time Ayotomiwa and I are donating it won’t be to protesters but to the jubilants of an earned justice system.

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STYLE & DESIGN

THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

#EndSARS

PROFILES OF THOSE KILLED BY POLICE BRUTALITY BY USIADE ISIOMA

Uncontrollable tears flowed in the eyes of millions of Nigerians on Friday night 16th of October as the protesters against the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) with the hashtag #EndSARS held a candle night memorial service for the victims of SARS/police killings at Lekki, Lagos Island, Abuja and other parts of the country. In a sombre mood, the protesters mourned the victims – who they described as “fallen heroes.” The hashtag #FallenHeroes was among the most trending hashtags on the bird app, Twitter. Some of the names of the victims of SARS/police killings were called at the session.

Jimoh Isiaq The 30 year old undergraduate was killed by a stray bullet fired at protester. He was standing some distance from the protesting crowd in Ogbomosho, southwest Oyo state. The shot hit his abdomen and came out from his back.

Daniel Chibuike (aka Sleek) was reportedly shot to death because he refused to unlock his phone for SARS operatives to go through. Sleek was an aspiring musician.

Ikechukwu Iloamuzor a 55-year-old man allegedly killed by a stray bullet during the #EndSARS protest in Surulere, Lagos state. The driver, was found dead on Monday after officers opened fire on protesters demanding an end to police brutality in the country. He was found on the ground, bleeding from the gunshot wound sustained on his jaw.

Emmanuel Egbo 15 year

aged 28 and a father of one, was shot by the police while parking his car in Jiwa, Federal Capital Territory. He spent the night at Jiwa Police Station and was taken to hospital the next morning but died the following day.

old Emmanuel Egbo was executed by a police officer in Enugu in September 2008. According to eyewitnesses, he was playing with other children in front of his uncle’s house when a police officer stopped to chat with the children. Two other police officers joined him; one of them pulled out his gun and shot the boy, claiming he was an armed robber, his body is still missing.

Mus’ab Sammani

Chinedu Obi a musician

Christian Onuigbo

a 22-year-old, died after his short return from India for his degree program in Computer Science. He was on his way to settle with some customers when he was shot by a police officer. His car was hit by a motorcycle and whilst arguing with the man, an officer intervened and shot him while he was in his car.

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Chijioke Iloanya was 20 years old in 2012, he went

for child dedication and was picked up there and allegedly taken to SARS office. When his family went to look for him, they were told he has been taken to the headquarters. When they got there, his mother spotted him being taken to the station and she acknowledged him as her child. The officer in charge of that station asked them to boot her and the family out of the premises. Since then they haven’t seen Chijioke. The next time they went, the officer boasted that he shot Chijioke and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Some other officers told the parents that it is possible ha hadn’t died and the man (officer in charge) could just be bluffing. He suggested they should bring some money to bribe the said officer. Chijoke’s father did as advised, brought the money but the officer said the amount was too small.

the 36-year-old father and a friend were leaving a soccer viewing center in the area, where they had gone to watch a Premiership league match, when a stray bullet hit and killed him on Sunday, March 31, 2019.

popularly known as Zinquest, was shot by a police officer at the Sango Area Command on July 19th, 2019. Zinquest was said to have been apprehended because he had tattoos on his body. However, the police said he was arrested after he got into a fight and injured the other person who lodged a complaint at the station.

Peter Ofurum

24, was arrested in Onitsha on 20th August 2008. He was handed over to SARS Awkuzu, Anambra State. He was denied access to a lawyer, medical care and was not allowed to see his

Chinedu Ani on 1st

August 2005, at 2pm, Chinedu Ani and his friend had approached a politician for financial support for their friend’s football career. According

Saifullahi

Anthony Onome

Chibuike Anams

Ifeoma Abugu

23 years, a student who was sitting with two friends at a guesthouse in Elimgbu, Rivers State, on 24 July 2009. When the police raided the guest house, he attempted to escape and was shot and died on the spot. There has been no investigation into his death.

is said to be the newly elected President of Students of Faculty of Management Sciences. He was shot dead during a peaceful student protest at Kilimanjaro junction Port Harcourt.

Victor Maduamago Azuamaka aged

The father went back, sold his land, and some properties, raised N3 million, gave it to the buy the officer still insisted that the N3 million was ‘chicken change’! The most horrifying part of this story is that man in charge, made Chijioke’s dad look for Chijioke’s body in a river of dead bodies. The father had to turn every single corpse upside down searching for his son. One cannot imagine what that man went through. One part of him would have wanted to find the corpse for closure while another part will be hoping against hope that his boy will still be alive. This is the impunity of our police who are meant to protect us! The family went to Abuja to seek justice. But on getting there, the State CID told them they will have to pay money to transport their officers down to the state where it happened.

a 17-year-old boy, was said to have been arrested two days ago by police while he was sleeping at his family home. Reports have it that despite protests by the people of the community as he was never known for any criminal tendencies, he remained in police custody where he allegedly died after being tortured to death. The police took Saifullahi’s corpse to his parent’s house on Monday morning which led to the protest currently going on in Kano around Kofar Mata area.

Kolade Johnson

Ayomide Taiwo

a 20-year-old fashion designer died after allegedly being assaulted by an Inspector attached to Ibokun Divisional Headquarters, Osun State on Tuesday August 4, around 3:30pm at Ilahun community at Ere Junction in Obok. Ayomide and his friend were stopped by police officers at a checkpoint; and as usual, they demanded a bribe and in the course of negotiating the bribe, an inspector who appeared drunk, Ago Egharevba, hit Ayomide with the butt of his rifle resulting in his death.

THISDAY Style Vol. 22, 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

STYLE & DESIGN

family. In October 2008, the family was informed that he had been transferred to Abuja, Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID). FCID, however, denied that he was in their custody. Till date, his whereabouts remain unknown. The IGP ordered an investigation of his case in September 2009.

to a witness, the politician became angry at some point and told the two that he “would deal with them seriously”. About an hour later, the two men were shot by police officers and taken to the police station in the boot of their car. Chinedu Ani died while his friend was badly wounded.

had been very active with this protest #EndSARS for a week. He was stabbed multiple times by thugs at Kubwa Abuja, during the protest. He was rushed to the hospital but died on Sunday.

a 28-year-old graduate of the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu was arrested instead of her fiancé. She was raped, tortured and killed by SARS in Abuja.

Steven Agbanyim aged 29, and Chidi Odinauwa, aged 26, were arrested

on 18th April 2009. The police confirmed to their relatives that the two men were in police custody in Borokiri Police Station, Port Harcourt. Steven Agbanyim was last seen by his family in detention at Borokiri Police Station on 27th April. On 7th May, SARS at Borokiri denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the two men. Police officers have informally told the families that the two men have been killed.

Daniel Adewuyi Tella

was a 27-year-old graduate of Banking and Finance. He was arrested on 7th February 2006 on his way home in Festac, Lagos. He died in police custody and the police later alleged that Daniel sustained serious injuries when he jumped out of a moving police vehicle. His family did not believe this story and suspect their son was tortured to death at the police station.

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

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THISDAY Style Sunday, October 25, 2020

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

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THISDAY Style Vol. 22, No. 9299 Sunday, October 25, 2020

STYLE & DESIGN

#EndSARS

THE PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES EBUKA OBI UCHENDU The host of Big Brother Naija reality show Ebuka Obi Uchendu has disclosed a bitter personal experience he had with SARS in 2005 ‘I can never ever forget’ “On the 14th of November 2015, just six days after I was called to Nigeria Bar and two days after my elder brother’s wedding, I was driving in the Zone 1 area of Abuja with my friends Chisom and Ofem when an unmarked car drove ahead of us and blocked my car in front. Then a man in plain clothes came out from the car with a gun and pointed at us! Of course my instinct was they were armed robbers so I found a way maneuver and speed off. He jumped into his car and chased after us. I wasn’t sure where I was going but I kept driving and at some point, we found ourselves at the Olusegun Obasanjo way when we noticed he had chased us into an ambush laid by policemen but at least there was a police truck parked, six to ten men holding guns were blocking the road. Then what is still the most chilling moment of my entire life, we watched the men raise their guns at us and open fire. We found out later there were several reported robbery cases at the area at the time and our dead bodies would have been paraded as the guilty armed robbers. Now 15 years later on the 3rd of October 2020, a young man Joshua Ambrose, was allegedly thrown out from a moving car by members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Ughelli in Delta state and that has sparked off the current protest. Thankfully, none of us in the car died that night in Abuja even though Ofem was hit by a bullet on

his shoulder and he still carries the scare till this day. He has gone on to do so many things including being the MD of Smart City Lagos, while Chisom is now a leading presenter on Super Sports but many other Nigerians haven’t been as lucky as us to still be alive till this day and fulfil their dreams. Thousands more have been killed so when Nigerians talk about the end SARS with the hashtag on twitter, it’s not a current situation, it has been our reality for too long! Yes, the government has disbanded the police unit but even after that, more Nigerians (Jimoh Isiak, Ikechukwu) and so many more have been killed during this peaceful protest across the country even though government has given the police order to stand out as recently as yesterday, more lives were lost in Oshogbo. This is not a political movement it’s literally Nigerians telling the government to give them a chance to just be alive, it’s the most fundamental human right and everyone has earned that right so the government must be seen to be acting and not just speaking because as long as the words of those in authority don’t match with what Nigerians see on the screens, trust will continue to slip away and hopefully this does not continue to be the case.

KING KENKO “About a month ago, my junior brother of 17yrs old was very unlucky on his way back from writing exam (Waec/GCE) along ‘IjokoRoad, Sango Otta’ when he met this so-called SARS officers. They stopped him and the first thing they told him was to unlock his phone. He was just shocked and reluctantly held on to his phone. After different attempts of getting him to unlock his phone proved futile, they had to drag him to the station (Ijoko Police Station). On getting to the station, the DPO asked him to call someone he could reach out to and he had to call home. After calling Dad, he was so tensed and derailed because that was least expected from a boy that left home with the

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aim of writing the paper, he had so much prepared for. Rushing down the station the DPO said to my Dad the boy looked like a smoker ‘17years old boy’ imagine and that was the only evidence they had for them to apprehend him on his way back from examination center. After much said and done, the bottom-line was my dad had to pay the DPO inordinate money to resolve the plight in order to release his 17 year old son. That was how my brother was molested by the set of people that was supposed to protect us. From my stance I think that was just act of injustice in all manners. How many of the youths have lost their lives due to this jurisdiction by SARS?

BY USIADE ISIOMA

BOLA, 28

RALPH, 26

“They came at night. They broke my door. I was unclad and terrified and they said they got reports that a robbery was going on and they automatically guessed it was my apartment because a guy was sighted coming in. They forcefully took my boyfriend’s phone and went through it. For every unanswered question was followed by a slap. One of the men threatened to rape me and he squeezed my breasts. I was crying and pleading with them. They later left after we gave them money”.

“I was kidnapped by SARS. I was on a bus going to Ibadan from Oyo town. We got to this checkpoint where they asked us to come down. They took stock of everyone and told the driver to leave without me. They were led by a woman who searched me and threatened to hit me and take me to jail if I refused to enter. I was forced into one of those Micra buses they use as public transport in Ibadan. The other male officers saw I was resisting and said “Put handcuff for him hand”. One of them started going through my phone and saw a message NCDC had sent to me weeks before after I had tested positive for COVID. He told his colleagues and they asked what country I went to and got COVID because they didn’t believe COVID was in Nigeria. I told them I had never left the country. They let me go afterward because they were afraid of catching COVID and didn’t find anything on me. I think I was lucky but I was baffled at how daft they were”. These are the people supposed to protect us?

EMEKA, 21 “I was sleeping over at a friend’s hostel when we suddenly heard a loud bang on the door. Someone had invited them to settle a dispute between her and her roommate but they decided to terrorize the whole floor. After banging on the door for a long time and no one answered they proceeded to leave thinking it was empty but one person kept saying he could smell people in the room. Unfortunately, someone returned to the room and we were forced to open the door. They realized we were in the room and started beating us. One of them had a machete he used in hitting my back a couple of times. They searched the room and found nothing and proceeded to extort us of our money. I was just a 200 L student. I had never received such treatment in my life”.

FELIX, 26 “The first time I was harassed by them was during my service year in Osun State. I was taking a stroll with a friend on Station Road when we heard someone saying we should run. We thought he was joking and ignored him. Suddenly, a bus parked before us, and one of the men asked us to get in. Taken aback, I refused because it wasn’t even an official car but public transport. There was a policeman around and he came over to ask what was going on. Next, I was asked to unlock my phone. Again, I refused because it was personal property. Due to this, I was hit on the head with a gun by an officer and taken to their office where I made some calls. When my Local Government Inspector came around, he was told I looked like a thug. Can you imagine? They changed the entire story”.

IBRAHIM, 23 “My friend and I left school from Abeokuta to Lagos and as we got to the outskirts of Lagos, we could see a small white bus signalling us to stop and we recognized them as SARS. I advised my friend not to because we smelt of weed and had some in the car. We hoped that if we acted totally oblivious, they would stop chasing. We kept on driving fast while they followed us for about 5km. They started fading and we thought we had lost them only to suddenly find them back behind us. This time they were shooting so we knew the game was up. My friend started to slow down and at that moment one of the bullets went to the back of his neck, he lost control of the car and we ended up crashing into a roadside shop. I don’t remember what happened after that but my friend died that day and the bullet caused more damage than the accident. I was in the hospital for three weeks and came out with a shattered leg they had to cut it off because it started to decay. People present at the scene reported that the SARS officials did not stop to see the accident they had caused.


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THISDAY STYLE MAGAZINE 25TH OCTOBER 2020  

THISDAY STYLE MAGAZINE 25TH OCTOBER 2020  

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