It is laughable that the ruling elites hiding face in Abuja and across state capitals will tell their children that they love them while praying to the Heavens that those children live to fulfill their dreams. Yet, those same elites have gone about their political businesses as though October 20, 2020, EndSARS Lekki Massacre never happened. Only a foolish person would beg for the Heavens’ protection for their children while having a hand, in whatever way, in the massacre of others’ children. But we must leave the act of judgment and karma to the Heavens.
We’ve listened to the federal and Lagos state governments and the military attempt to argue their ways out of the Lekki Massacre as responsible citizens. But even as these three state parties may convince themselves that they all had nothing to do with the killings, neither can convince the public of their innocence. The mere fact that they each have yet to give convincing reports or announce prosecutions directly related to the massacre can only further speculate they’re accessories to it.
If the federal government is interested in protecting lives, it should have gone to greater lengths to create national committees or presidential investigative panels. But the absence of such interventions makes one wonder if committees and panels are only necessary when it concerns the petroleum industry bill or prosecuting political figures like Ibrahim Magu. Why would the President only be interested in calling the fire brigade on monetary and political issues rather than a national security-related event like the Lekki Massacre?
Equally, if Jide Sanwo-Olu and those running Lagos State on his behalf are honestly consumed with the need to uncover what actually happened at the Lekki Tollgate, why haven’t they sued the presidency since the latter controls the military? More so, the massacre happened on Lagos soil and, as such, gives the state the right to sue any suspicious culprit to get definite answers.
Of what significance has the kangaroo Lagos Judicial Panel on EndSARS been prosecuting those who fired the fatal shots at Lekki? Sanwo-Olu should summon the courage to ask the victims’ families if, to them, money equates justice. The justice that would bring those families any form of closure is in-court trials and sentencings.
On another note, since the army has confirmed that some soldiers seen shooting at the scene of the murders are indeed registered army personnel, why has it yet to reveal their identities? Why hasn’t the defense ministry initiated emergency tribunals or ethics committee hearings to address this claim to the dot, i.e., ending in prosecution? It must be the case that those heading the military have lost it if they think that defending the country only involves fighting Boko Haram while not necessarily needing to give a dime about civilians.
Also, it is now clear that the attorney general’s office does not exist to serve the regular and the downtrodden. The deafening silence (absence of actions leading to prosecutions) from Abubakar Malami on the Lekki Massacre is disgraceful. Just in case Malami or his office needs some reminder, the attorney general’s primary job is to help secure justice for the country and its citizens and protect the constitution. Not only licking the boots of Buhari or spending time on national television threatening governors with the declaration of a state of emergency during elections.
Whichever way the presidency, Sanwo-Olu, the army, and Malami choose to consider the Lekki Massacre or not, Nigerians must reckon with the fact that the country’s devil lives within. The real devil here is not merely the gang of leaders asserting their barbaric dictatorship on the rest of the country, but it is also in the failure of many across the country to join the fight for justice.
To bring down a dictatorial democracy requires the subscription of a vast majority of the country. If older citizens (36 to 60 years) continue to not only remain idle in committing to advocacy but keep discouraging the younger citizens who have summoned the courage to fight for what is right, Nigeria will remain the same.
Posterity will always tell. Fela Kuti’s posterity is golden because his actions were golden. We remember those who betrayed Biafra during the civil war today as eternal cowards, and rightly so. Memories and legacies are largely what individuals made of them while alive.
However, to those gone, we’ll forever remember your bravery. You’re the real Nigerians. We’ll keep asking for justice on your behalf. We’ll honor your memories in our hearts and tell of your gallantry to our children and those after them. You are the (s)heroes we’ll sing of in “The labor of our heroes past.” And may you all continue to rest in peace.
Ibrahim B. Anoba (Bàbátúndé Anọ́ba) is a Nigerian journalist and columnist for Sahara Reporters. He is also an Africa fellow at Atlas Network. He tweets via @Ibrahim_Anoba.