Nigerian roads are filled with the youth – male, female, pop-cultured, alté, celebrity, fans, etc. – all with their placards, singing, and marching to the same song. No, it is not a celebration. It is a lamentation of pain, a struggle for liberation from trigger-happy and coldhearted police tactical squad, SARS, who have suddenly become a thorn in the flesh of the Nigerian youth.
Amongst the protesters, is Frances, a newly-wed, widowed because her husband had no money to bail himself out of an unjust arrest. He did not live to see their first child. Mr. Ifeanyi too sorrowful to raise even raise his placard with the face of his deceased son printed on it. He was not there for his son when men of SARS carelessly pumped a bullet in him because in the country we live in, “nothing go happen”.
Mrs. Abayomi is in the crowd distributing nose masks and bottled water free to other protesters. Her son was accosted on his way from the airport. He had only just returned from Abuja, and when he wouldn’t provide the receipt to his iPhone and MacBook on the spot, and wouldn’t let them go with his gadgets nor offer money, they shot him twice drove off with the Honda.
SARS brutality, extortion, and extrajudicial killings have carried on for years. Now, the people cry for answers, parents on TV shedding tears for the loss of their children to SARS brutality, the result of negligence on the part of the authorities, and the symptom of a failed system.
These stories and more make up our experiences as citizens of Nigeria under a failed administration, and our silence means that we are not tired of intimidation and the killing of our loved ones, and there is a need to prove otherwise. We implore altéists as freethinkers and creatives to use whatever medium is best suited for them to lend voices to the ongoing protest against police brutality and subjugation. And if you can, grab your bucket hats, nose masks, baggy pants, and boots and go join the protests.
Divided we fall, together we conquer.