Connect with us

Buzz

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Writes on End SARS and 20th October Killings

Published

on

For years, the name SARS hung in the air here in Nigeria like a putrid fog. SARS, which stood for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was supposed to be the elite Nigerian police unit dedicated to fighting crime, but it was really a moneymaking terror squad with no accountability. SARS was random, vicious, vilely extortionist. SARS officers would raid bars or stop buses on the road and arbitrarily arrest young men for such crimes as wearing their hair in dreadlocks, having tattoos, holding a nice phone or a laptop, driving a nice car. Then they would demand large amounts of money as “bail.”

SARS officers once arrested my cousin at a beer parlor because he arrived driving a Mercedes. They accused him of being an armed robber, ignored the work ID cards he showed them, took him to a station where they threatened to photograph him next to a gun and claim he was a robber, unless he paid them a large sum of money. My cousin is one of the fortunate few who could pay an amount large enough for SARS, and who was released. He is not one of the many tortured, or the many disappeared, like Chijioke Iloanya.

In 2012 Mr. Iloanya was 20 when SARS officers arrested him at a child dedication ceremony in Anambra State. He had committed no crime. His family tried to pay to have him released but were asked to bring more money than they had. So they sold their property to raise money and went back to the SARS office but Mr. Iloanya was no longer there. They have not seen him since. Photos of him on social media show a young man, still almost a child, with sensitive eyes and a future waiting for him. There are so many families like the Iloanyas who are caught between pain and hope, because their sons and brothers were arrested by SARS and they fear the worst, knowing the reputation of SARS, but still they dare to hope in the desperate way we humans do for those we love.

There have been End SARS protests, since 2016, but October 2020 was different, a tipping point had been reached. The protests signaled the overturning of convention — the protesters insisted on not having a central leadership, it was social rather than traditional media that documented the protests, and, in a country with firm class divisions, the protests cut across class. The protests were peaceful, insistently peaceful, consistently peaceful. They were organized mostly on social media by young Nigerians, born in the 1980s and 1990s, a disaffected generation with the courage to act. Their bravery is inspiring. They speak to hope and to the possibility of what Nigeria could become. Of those involved in the organization, none is more remarkable than a group called Feminist Coalition, set up by Nigerian feminists, who have raised MORE THAN $180,000 and have provided legal aid, security and food to protesters.

But the Nigerian government tried to disrupt their fund-raising. The Nigerian government has reportedly accused Flutterwave, the company through which the donation link was created, of accepting funds from terrorists, even though it is clear that Feminist Coalition’s members are not terrorists. Their fund-raising link suddenly stopped working. Still, they persisted, and began to raise money through Bitcoin.

From the capital city of Abuja to the small town of Ogbomosho, state agents attacked and beat up protesters. The police killed a few and detained many others, until social media and video evidence forced them to release some of the detained. Still, the protesters persisted.

The Lagos State government accused protesters of violence, but it defied common sense that a PROTEST so consistently committed to peaceful means would suddenly turn around and become violent. Protesters know they have everything to lose in a country like Nigeria where the mere hint of violence gives free reign to murderous security forces. Nigeria’s political culture is steeped in state-sponsored thuggery. Politicians routinely hire thugs to cause chaos, especially during elections, and many people believed that thugs had been hired to compromise the protests. On social media, videos that attested to this — of thugs getting into SUVs that belonged to the government, of hardened and hungry young men admitting they were paid to join the protests and become violent. Still, the protesters persisted.

______

At about noon on Oct. 20, 2020, about two weeks into the protests, the Lagos State governor suddenly announced a curfew that would begin at 4 p.m., which gave people in a famously traffic-clogged state only a few hours to get home and hunker down. I feared that a curfew would provide an excuse for state violence, that in the name of restoring order, the army and police would unleash violence. Still, I was unprepared for the carnage that followed at the Lekki Toll Gate, the most prominent in Lagos. Government officials reportedly cut the security cameras, then cut off the bright floodlights, leaving only a darkness heavy with foreboding. The protesters were holding Nigerian flags, sitting on the ground, some kneeling, some singing the national anthem, peaceful and determined. A blurry video of what happened next has gone viral — soldiers walk toward the protesters with a terrifyingly casual calm, the kind of calm you cannot have if you are under attack, and they shoot, not up in the air, which anyway would still be an atrocity when dealing with peaceful protesters, but with their guns at arm level, shooting into a crowd of people, shooting to kill. Sparks of gunfire taint the air. It is still unclear how many died. Those at the scene say that the Nigerian army took away some bodies, and prevented ambulances from getting in to help the injured, and that there was still shooting going on hours later, in the morning.

The Nigerian state has turned on its people. The only reason to shoot into a crowd of peaceful citizens is to terrorize: to kill some and make the others back down. It is a colossal and unforgivable crime. The brazenness is chilling, that the state would murder its citizens, in such an obviously premeditated way, as though certain of the lack of consequences.

It is anarchy, a friend told me. Nigeria is descending into chaos, another friend said. They may be right, but “anarchy” and “chaos” are different ways of using language to shield what is fundamentally to blame — a failure of leadership. It did not have to be like this. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has long been ineffectual, with a kind of willful indifference. Under his leadership, insecurity has worsened; there is the sense that Nigeria could very well burn to the ground while the president remains malevolently aloof. The president himself has often telegraphed a contemptuous self-righteousness, as though engaging fully with Nigerians is beneath him. Twelve hours after soldiers shot peaceful protesters, Mr. Buhari still had not addressed the nation.

A movement cannot spread so organically and widely across Nigeria if it does not legitimately reflect the grievances of ordinary people. A democratically elected government that is unable or unwilling to fully address those grievances has failed.

In the first week of the protests, the president sent out a tweet and then gave a flaccid speech about ending SARS. The inspector general of police has announced that SARS has been scrapped, but the government has announced the dissolution of SARS a few times in the past, starting in 2017. Because Nigerians are so accustomed to the two-faced nature of their governments, to promises destroyed even before being made, it is unsurprising that the protesters distrust the government and are demanding clear actions rather than words.

For weeks I have been in my ancestral hometown, where we first buried my beloved father, and then a week later, buried his only sister, my Aunt Rebecca. Immersed in my own raw grief, the frequent moments of stunned sorrow, thinking of my father’s casket being lowered into the rain-softened earth, wondering if it might still all be a bad dream, I think with a new kind of poignancy about those who have been killed. I think of their families brutally plunged into the terrible abyss of grief, made more terrible by the knowledge that their loved ones were killed by their country. And for what? Because they peacefully asked to be allowed to live.

About the Writer

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is world renowned writer. Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017. Her 2009 TED talk, The Danger of A Single Story is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time. Her 2012 TEDx Euston talk, We Should All Be Feminists started a global conversation about feminism, is now a book and was sampled by Beyoncé.

She was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2015. In 2017, Fortune Magazine named her one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. She is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her latest short story, Zikora is expected to be published on 27th of October, 2020 as part of Amazon Original Stories.

Advertisement

Buzz

Highlights from Sika Osei and Sele Douglas’ white wedding

Published

on

Highlights from Sika Osei and Sele Douglas' white wedding

The fairytale nuptials of Ghanaian actress, producer, and TV presenter, Sika Osei and Sele Douglas  climaxed with a chic  white wedding in Accra, on Saturday. (more…)

Continue Reading

Buzz

Angélique Kidjo to storm Ghana for GUBA awards

Published

on

Multiple Grammy award winner, Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo, is expected to perform at this year’s Grow, Unite and Build Africa (GUBA) Awards.

The awards are slated for November 7 and 8, 2021, and would mark a centenary of the passage and resilience of Nana Yaa Asantewaa, the influential warrior and Queen mother of Ejisu, who rose to lead an Asante army against the British.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday at Kempinski hotel in Accra, Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) of GUBA, Ms Dentaa Amoateng said, the celebrated African musician who hails from Benin would be honoured on the day.

She noted that the ceremony would be attended by prominent people of various background including former President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,the seventh Director–General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, market women among many others.

Dentaa Amonteng further noted that Nana Yaa Asantewaa’s ravery,immensely contributed to the country’s independence story, because it shaped the psyche of the nation, that they could stand up for the country regardless of the apposition.

She said for this reason, there was the need to throw more spotlight on her and celebrate the amazing performance of women and empower young ladies to strive to the top.

According to her the two-day event, would first be a durbar at Manhyia palace in Kumasi on November 7, and followed by the rest of Awards the next day at the Grand Arena, Accra International Conference Centre.

Prince Anthony Bart, a member of the team said it would help instill the spirit of patriotism in the youth, “we need to learn about history of leaders who have contributed to our struggle.”

The Year 2021 marks exactly 100 years of the death of Yaa Asantewaa, the last African woman to lead a major war against colonial powers in 1900, where she played the role of the Commander-in-Chief of the powerful Asante Empire.

These events will observe an important moment in African history, one that is unique to the relations between the Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Seychelles and is expected to host several high-profile personalities from the diaspora.

While celebrating Yaa Asantewaa, the awards will also recognize the contribution of Black women in the diaspora and Africa. The 2021 GUBA Awards will also raise awareness on maternal mortality and call for measures to ensure safe child delivery across the continent. GUBA Enterprise believes that every child, born and unborn, has a great potential and must be given the opportunity to fulfill this potential

Continue Reading

Buzz

Ghanaian rapper Medikal remanded in prison custody for 5 day

Published

on

Ghanaian rapper Medikal has been ordered by an Accra Court to be remanded in prison custody for 5 days. (more…)

Continue Reading

Buzz

Photos and Videos from Sika Osei’s stunning Ghana/Naija traditional wedding

Published

on

Ghanaian actress and TV presenter, Sika Osei on Thursday, October 21 2021 tied the knot in Accra with her Nigerian fiancé in a beautiful traditional wedding ceremony. (more…)

Continue Reading

Buzz

Showmax Premiers Ghana Jollof

Published

on

Ladies and gentlemen, lunch is served!

Showmax premiers its first comedy-drama series in West Africa, Ghana Jollof, which premieres on the African streaming service on Friday, 22 October 2021.

Ghana Jollof tells the sizzling story of two young Nigerians, Jasper (Funnybone) and Romanus (Akah Nnani), who move to Ghana in search of greener pastures.

In the trailer, things start up with a first-time meeting between Nnamdi (Uzor Arukwe, who starred as dreaded crime boss Knight in Sugar Rush), Jasper (AMVCA-winning actor/comedian Funnybone), Kweku (heartthrob James Gardiner from Ghana’s popular telenovela Dede) and Romanus (AMAA nominee/Youtuber Akah Nnani). Subsequently, Jasper and Romanus head out to Ghana to jollof, kicking off a series of adventures… and misadventures.

Executive produced by Nigeria’s King of Comedy, Basketmouth, Ghana Jollof serves up a delicious ensemble cast from both Nigeria and Ghana. This includes the likes of AMAA nominee Joselyn Dumas, leading comedienne Jacinta Ocansey, Mawuli Gavor (Chief Daddy), popular reality star Portia Freelove, model and actress Brihanna Kinte, veteran actor Jackson Albert Davies (Beasts of No Nation), actress Korkor Oyeba Mensah, and multiple award-winning comedian/actor, Kalybos, not to mention Basketmouth himself.

“I’ve always wanted to create something that would be a collaboration between Nigeria and Ghana, and Ghana Jollof is a realization of that dream,” says Basketmouth. “From the cast to the crew, everyone gave of themselves to create a show deserving to be Showmax’s first comedy-drama from West Africa. We all can’t wait for the fans to see what we’ve cooked up.”

Ghana Jollof is directed by AMVCA nominee Diji Aderogba, whose debut feature film About A Boy won the Audience Choice Award at Nollywood Film Week in Paris, France.

Ghana Jollof will be available for streaming across Africa and in the UK. The show will have 13 episodes to devour, with new episodes dropping every Friday from 22 October 2021.

Watch and embed the trailer:

Continue Reading

Buzz

You asked for the country to be fixed and it is being fixed- Prince David Osei reacts to Shatta/Medikal arrests

Published

on

Ghanaian actor Prince David Osei has opined that the current arrests of Shatta Wale and Medikal are true examples of the country being fixed.

Earlier on in the year, there were several social media protests led by Efia Odo and others asking the government of the day to fix the country.

While the protest has gone silent over the last couple months, the current actions by the new IGP has Prince David Osei agreeing that indeed the system was being fixed.

On Tuesday and Thursday night, Shatta Wale and Medikal were both arrested by the Police for committing various crimes.

Reacting to their arrests, Prince David Osei, who is a staunch member of the NPP, on Thursday evening shared on his Instagram stating that Ghanaians asked for the country to be fixed and that’s exactly what they’re getting.

“Did I hear someone say fix the country? Well the power that be heard your plea and is fixing the country. Ghana will prosper. Good night,” he shared.

He added; “In a country where the law works, the people prosper. 24/7 the system is working.”

See screenshot of his post below;

Continue Reading

Win

Watching gossip makes playing online a much more enjoyable experience. A good show can certainly improve any immersion. The bitcoin casino scene has exceptional games available for you to play while watching your shows. Crypto casino is a great way to mix gaming, and gossip, as you can watch all your shows, and it will be an enjoyable experience.

Trending