I feel always pained to talk about Nigeria. Over the phone a few days ago, a friend who recently reallocated to a new country, accessed the benefits of staying in Nigeria, while he was endlessly interviewing me and I knew I always answered him that I only have the passport which I got a few weeks ago, after about despicable experiences. My friend spent considerable years in Nigeria before he did decide to take a final bow. As the discussion went on, the room went blank and he was not shocked about the development, because Nigeria does not value light and have an offensive view about giving her citizens the chance to enjoy what they deserve.
When my friend narrated to me his brokenness, his tepid accounts about being Nigerian, I hurried to dry the tears that ran through my cheek. Nigeria took my beloved friend during the #EndSARS protest, he said and I have not forgiven myself, neither Nigeria for taking a citizen she is bound to secure. Sadly, I can’t be able to see her corpse and I doubt too if my friend’s family saw their daughter’s corpse, because the Nigerian police who carried the act, took away the body to where they can only give details of. I am a medical practitioner and I do not know how Nigeria will as well deny me my monthly salary and expect me to be effective and efficient. These accumulated to my fears, my unwillingness to remain a Nigerian.
I regret to say that, while I say less of my place of nationality with pride, I am saddened about the sorrowful ordeals of my friend. There were many committed Nigerians who took the pains to always defend Nigeria at all costs, but at each stage of this defence, they are stabbed by the same country that they are running after to defend. Many persons have withdrawn from being a Nigerian outside Nigeria because they are criminalised at the mention of the name. And outside that the feelings are true, Nigeria keeps reassuring her citizens that they are not ready to change. Each day, I am exposed to death, to experiences that sink my heart and to make my mental foundation quiver and become unstable.
Nigeria and her cohorts have continued to instil fear on her children and they keep aborting the dreams of her children with knives and guns. For over twenty years plus since I have been linked to Nigeria, I have been shocked by her poor infrastructural development, the meltdown of the economy, the social culture that keep apprehending me in surprise, the education system that deteriorates every waking second. And when I think there would be change, it stiffens in the abysmal record. It shows that while I think of her transformation for the better, it promises more awful things and the shock of 20 – 10 – 2020, makes me feel more uncomfortable about believing in Nigeria.
I watched today, Nigerian policemen drag a citizen of her country into a van and when the guy refused to arrest, he was rough handled and was conditioned to accent after they have sprayed a harmful compound on him. This is a Nigerian, a promising one, reduced to think about Nigeria more annoyingly. How will you value a country that specialises in brutalising its people and extorting money with intimidation? How will you honour a country that consciously takes the lives of her own, when they were legitimately communicating their feelings about the torture, about vandalism, about terrorist groups sponsored to malign and maim them. These are unpleasant occasions orchestrated by the leaders of the country we belong to – the leaders we willingly voted in with expectations that they will represent us and protect us.
It is one year of remembering that the heroes that died at the toll gate have not been given justice. It is one year of remembering a country that chose silence over the lives of her people. It is one year of remembering a planned attack by the leadership of Nigeria. It is one year of a quiet night, a lonely night, a night where blood flowed on the flags of innocent protesters. It is one year of grieve, and I am sad that the Nigerian government has decided to push away the righteous anger and make us feel we are not meant to speak our mind and exercise our franchise as a democratic people.
May we never forget that Nigeria died in our hearts when they became passive to our cries. And they have been buried when they keep thinking we don’t deserve to air our worries.