“Nigeria is killing its citizens,” writes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi about the shooting of protesters from the end of SARS.

“Nigeria is killing its citizens,” writes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi about the shooting of protesters from the end of SARS.

“Nigeria is killing its citizens,” writes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi about the shooting of protesters from the end of SARS.

Chimamanda Adichi spoke about the recent shootings in Nigeria.

In an article published in the New York Times, the author described what SARS agents have done to Nigerians over the years. She described an unpleasant experience her cousin had with SARS and also described the shooting at a toll booth in Lekki.

He wrote: “For years, the name SARS has hung in the air here in Nigeria like a putrid fog. SARS, which stands for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was supposed to be the elite crime-fighting unit of the Nigerian police force, but it was actually a terrorist squad that made money without responsibility. SARS was a random, evil, heinous extortionist. SARS agents broke into bars or stopped buses on the street and arbitrarily arrested young people for crimes such as wearing hair with dreadlocks, getting tattoos, using a beautiful phone or laptop, or driving a beautiful car. Thus, they will need large sums of money as “collateral”.

Talking about the arrest of his cousin, he wrote: “SARS agents once arrested my cousin at the brewery for driving a Mercedes.

“They accused him of being an armed robber, ignored the IDs from the job he showed them, took him to the site where they threatened to take a picture of him next to a pistol and claimed that he was a robber, unless he paid them a large amount of money.

“My cousin is one of the lucky few who paid a large enough sum for ARVI and were released. He is not one of the many tortured or missing people like Chijioke Iloanya. “

He went on to tell the story of Chijioka, a 20-year-old who “did not commit any crime” but was arrested in 2012 during “the initiation ceremony of a child in Anambra State”. He has not been seen since.

Speaking about the SARS protests, he said that the call for an end to SARS had been going on for years, but this year it was different.

“There have been protests against SARS since 2016, but October 2020 was different, the tipping point had come.

“The protests signaled the cancellation of the convention – the protesters insisted they had no central leadership, it was social media, not the traditional ones that documented the protests, and in a country with a solid class division, protests crossed the class. …

“The protests were peaceful, always peaceful, always peaceful. They were mostly hosted on social media by young Nigerians born in the 1980s and 1990s, a disillusioned generation with the courage to act. Their courage is inspiring. They talk about the hope and the possibilities of what Nigeria can become.

“Of those involved in the organization, none is more notable than a group called the Feminist Coalition, formed by Nigerian feminists, which raised over $ 180,000 and provided protesters with legal aid, security and food.”

He continued, “But the Nigerian government tried to stop fundraising.

“The Nigerian government has allegedly accused Flutterwave, the company through which the donation link was established, of accepting funds from terrorists, although it is clear that members of the feminist coalition are not terrorists. Their fundraising link suddenly stopped working. However, they persisted and started raising funds through Bitcoin. “

He then turned to direct violence against the End SARS protesters.

“From the capital Abuja to Ogbomosho, government agents attacked and beat the demonstrators. Police killed several and detained many until social media and video evidence forced them to release some of the detainees. However, the demonstrators persisted.

“The Lagos state government has accused the protesters of violence, but defied common sense that a protest so continually carried out by peaceful means would suddenly escalate into violence.”

He wrote about thugs who hijacked peaceful protests.

“Protesters know they have a lot to lose in a country like Nigeria, where a mere hint of violence unleashes bloody security forces. Nigeria’s political culture is steeped in state-sponsored crime. Politicians regularly hire thugs to cause chaos, especially during elections, and many people believed the criminals were hired to compromise the protests.

“There are videos on social media to prove this — of perpetrators getting into government SUVs, hardened and starving youths who admit they were paid to take part in protests and to be violent. However, the demonstrators persisted. “

He then turned to the tragic events of Tuesday, October 20, when some SARS protesters were killed and others were injured.

Ms Adichi wrote: “Around noon on October 20, 2020, about two weeks after the start of the protests, the Governor of Lagos State suddenly announced a curfew that started at 4:00 pm, which gave the people the opportunity for the state to be known to be jammed with road transport. just a few hours to get home and stay.

“I was afraid that the curfew would trigger government violence, that the army and police would unleash violence in the name of restoring order.

“However, I was not prepared for the massacre that followed the toll station at Lekki, the most important one in Lagos.

Government officials reportedly turned off security cameras, then turned off bright spotlights, leaving only ominous darkness. The demonstrators were holding Nigerian flags, sitting on the ground, some kneeling, others singing the national anthem, peacefully and decisively.

“The vague video of what happened next went viral: the soldiers walk towards the protesters with a frighteningly casual calm, the kind of calm that cannot be if you are attacked and shot, and not in the air, that in any case, to deal with peaceful demonstrators – this is cruelty, but with weapons at hand level, shooting at a crowd of people, they shoot to kill. Sparks from firearms pollute the air. It is not clear how many have died.

“Those on the scene say the Nigerian army took some of the bodies and blocked the passage of ambulances to help the wounded, and that shooting was still going on a few hours later in the morning.”

He continued: “The State of Nigeria has turned against its people. The only reason to shoot at a crowd of civilians is to terrorize: kill some and return others. This is a colossal and unforgivable crime. The impudence of the fact that the state is killing its citizens so obviously deliberately, as if it were sure of the absence of consequences, is frightening.

“This is anarchy,” a friend told me. Another friend said Nigeria was plunging into chaos. ”

She turned to Bukhari’s silence as the country plunged into chaos, writing: “The government of President Muhammad Bukhari has long been ineffective, displaying a kind of stubborn indifference.

“Under his leadership, insecurity has worsened; there is a sense that Nigeria could very well be wiped off the face of the earth, as the president is maliciously keeping aloof. The president himself often telegraphed with contemptuous hypocrisy, as if full interaction with the Nigerians was beneath him.

“Twelve hours after the soldiers shot the peaceful demonstrators, Mr. Bukhari still has not addressed the nation.”

The award-winning author said she spent several weeks at her ancestral home in Nigeria to bury her father. A week later, the father’s only sister was buried.

She explained that, immersed in her grief, she thinks “of those who have been killed” and she thinks “of their families, brutally thrown into a terrible abyss of pain, made even more terrible by the realization that their loved ones were killed by their country. ” For what? Because they asked to live peacefully. “

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