In as much as a lot of things have happened along the course of time and history of the nation Nigeria, the event that characterized 20/10/20 is still one that will linger on in the minds of Nigerians especially the youths. It all started as another day of protest at the Lekki toll gate, with protesters expressing their dissatisfaction with rampant cases of police brutality and calling for reforms in the policing structure of the country and its management, little did they know that that day will go down in history as what has become popularly called the Lekki toll gate massacre. At about 7:00 pm, men dressed in camouflage believe to be men of the Nigerian Army stormed the protest ground shooting sporadically towards the unarmed protesters who had the Nigerian national anthem in their mouth and the national flag as their only weapon.
Many still dread the event of that night, beds were soaked with tears and fear gripped the heart of many young Nigerians and the thought of what the future holds for them in Nigeria became what to consider after experiencing the event that unfolded that faithful night right before their eyes, thanks to the internet. It’s been one year and several enquiry committees have been set up, with the Federal Government still maintaining that there was no massacre at the toll gate and all claims of loss of lives are just products of imagination, but the teeming populace still maintains that some people went out to protest and never returned that day or never again. The truth about the Lekki toll gate massacre has become so expensive to purchase that we have only been forced to come to terms with different expressions of the events that occurred that night, just like a movie recorded from different angles.
After one year, students of the University of Ibadan have shared their experiences from the #EndSARS protest, its effect, their hope for Nigeria and even their conclusions.
A student when approached about the events of the #EndSARS protest said: “Yeah, last year there was a candle night for the people who lost their lives…it was on the way to our house and my dad was stuck outside till about 2 am”. Another student said ” No memories because I was too scared to go out and in the end, I wasn’t scared for anything. Watching people that night on my phone just looked like a movie and it’s something I’d never forget even if I wasn’t there physically. No hope in sight for this country in my view. Any opportunity you get please leave”. When asked about the prospect of better governance for Nigeria, she said, “We all should just be careful now we know the government only care about their own pockets and basic human rights don’t mean anything to them”.
Edidiong said “Who gave the order to shoot is still a matter of discus. EndSARS protest is a period to remember in the history of Nigeria as Nigerian youths stood up to demand an end to the SARS unit of the police force and also went on demand an end to injustice, insecurity and many other issues. EndSARS ended badly as armless protesters were helplessly shot at. According to the report, some people lost their life.
I am trying to be an optimistic Nigerian youth but still, some innocent protesters were arrested today for demanding justice. It seems like there is no hope for Nigeria but let keep believing and doing what we can do best to help the Nation.
However, Moninuola although optimistic that Nigeria will soon change for the better but still doesn’t think Nigerians are ready for a change yet. She said “So 20/10/20 was a very sad day in Nigeria, May the souls of the dead rest in perfect peace. That day was a bad day for me because I don’t like the graphic violence stuff and the way it was on all socials. I had to go off for days but we thank God she. I hope the effort and the sacrifices don’t go in vain because this country is corrupt, if there’s a greater adjective to use for this country, Nigeria is more than corrupt. Because those that were at the #EndSARS protest, complaining about the bad governance are the same people advocating for Tinubu and the likes for the next election… So which way? Where is the youth political party that was “formed”? I haven’t been hearing anything about it. And when the 2023 elections come, Nigerians will still collect money and vote for these same set of people into power, or maybe it has been “decided” by the people at the “top” as people usually say. But I hope that this protest will reflect in the 2023 elections and we’re able to vote a new set of people into power, even though everybody is corrupt and not these old and dying people. I hope.
However, Adekemi expresses deep optimism she said ” I still have hope in Christ. Everything will be better soon”
Nigerians can only but hope as it stands now, daily the issues that topped the request of protesting youths during the #EndSARS protest are still evident in our society, daily there are reports of Police Brutality, extortion, misuse of power and even an increase in the level of insecurity amongst other societal issues. It then begs the question, “hope the labours of our heroes past and now even fallen hasn’t been in vain?”
As it is the saying, the last thing that leaves a man is hope. We can only but hope for a better Nigeria where the lives of innocent citizens lost wouldn’t be in vain. But surely something happened at Lekki toll gate on 20/10/2020 and the question still lingers “Who ordered the shooting at Lekki Tollgate on 20/10/2020, who?”