I’m not going to bother the morbid details from the #EndSARS protest last year. Many of us were there, many people marched, cried, watched with horror as the conflicting narratives about what happened emerged. October 20th, marked one year since the particular EndSARS protest that resulted in the shooting of innocent protesters. See, there were live videos, many of us watched the footage, and most of us were enraged, as we rightly should. This led to the very important question: who ordered the shooting?
Knowing how Nigerian government is, there was a lot of calisthenics about this issue. Of course, our people in power denied it. They called us names, and even had the audacity to blame young folks for acting to be treated better. However, in a strange twist of events, The Lagos state government set up a panel last year to investigate the incident and now, almost one year later, they have answers for us! To be honest, I am very surprised that the government allowed this report to be published because it confirmed everything. The report is very long, it also contains names of those who had gunshot injuries and those who were sadly killed.
Here’s the very basic summary of the report.
- The army shot and killed defenseless protesters who were singing the national anthem and waving Nigerian flag
- After the army left, the police also shot at the protesters
- LCC withheld and tampered with evidence (from the camera)
- Sanwo-Olu invited the army to Lekki
- The army attempted to clean up the scene, they took dead bodies away, and the police picked up bullets from the ground
So now that we have this report, someone reading might wonder, what next? What does this change? Where do we go from here?
I understand where these questions are coming from. After all, those we lost have already gone, no lengthy report can bring them back. The events from the protest also remain jarring. It revealed youth allies and those who would rather hobnob with those in power than take a stand for what is right. Still, one thing I’m taking away from the whole report is this hope. Hope in the power of truth.
Let’s think about it for a minute. Nigeria is a place where the truth is literally one of the most contested things. If a government official says something is white, there is the tendency that it is blue or purple or orange. We have seen how corruption distorts everything, how our parents’ generation were gaslighted to believe in a system that had no plans for them. And so, to watch this same institution confirm what we had been saying all along, it doesn’t necessarily make me feel proud, but it brings relief. It means that our situation is not completely dismal. That if we fight for the truth, it will emerge. It means that history has taken record over what happened, and the world has registered it. Even if it hasn’t changed anything, even if it will not change much, at least, we know that we fought for the truth, and somehow, in this country that tries to swallow its young people, the truth won. Sis! The truth actually won.
If you want to read the report for yourself, you can find it here link. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.