“To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign”
I remember my English teacher in secondary school correcting us after we had finished singing the second stanza of the national anthem. He asked us to scrap out the word “shall” out of the last line because according to him, we already live in a nation where peace and justice reign. That was five years ago and till this day, it remains the biggest lie I have ever heard. It is evident that in reality, Nigeria has not gotten to the point where ‘shall’ can be taken out of the last line of the national anthem. The country is still afar off. Where is the justice in the killings of unarmed youths? Where is the justice when a fool with a gun can tell you that your life will be “wasted” just like that, and nothing would happen? Where is the president of the country in these happenings?
I have not had an encounter with officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) – a unit in the Nigerian Police Force – but I will tell the story of my friend, Solomon, who in November 2015, was arrested alongside other youths who went to a viewing centre to watch football. He was arrested and called a thief all because he went to watch a football match. In describing the exciting demeanour of the policemen as they rounded up young innocent boys, he said:
“I have never seen humans behave in such a manner, and till today, I detest policemen…”
He met other young boys in the cell who were arrested unjustly, one of which was arrested for going to buy food. Solomon’s story is just one out of the many untold stories of young men and women who have been assaulted, arrested, robbed and killed by the SARS officers. We are stuck in a society where those who are supposed to protect us turn against us, where those who are supposed to shield us from robbers become the robbers. Who is fooling whom?
It is pathetic enough that what we fight for, the reason we fight are for those things which are supposed to be our fundamental human rights– our right to life, our right to speak, our right to move. And we say that Nigeria is not walking backwards? Thousands of youths have been killed by these men under the guise of protecting the nation from internet fraudsters. While I would not excuse the fact that internet fraud is real in the country, harassment, brutal ‘wasting’ and unjust detainment of youths are NOT the way forward, and should not come from men who are equally corrupt.
I thought we are the “leaders of tomorrow?”
The leaders who are supposed to be there for us feign ignorance to our plight. They are not bothered so long as their children live safely in better countries than this. So they do nothing about the situation. It is apparent that they do not care for those who would be the leaders of the country tomorrow. The president – “commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria” – also turns a blind eye to the atrocities of the Nigerian Police Force. Shame! We have waited so long for a revolution. So we will not wait for them anymore.
We will lend our voices and become the revolution we seek!
We will not stop until Nigeria becomes a safe place for the youth to thrive. The protests will not stop until we get what we want. They try to put an end to the protests by shooting at unarmed youths and spraying tear-gas, but we will not stop. We will paddle our own canoes because we have goats for leaders!
We are the revolution!