Lekki Shooting: Anarchy or Caution?
By: Deji Yesufu
I returned from work yesterday evening exhausted but my mind was on the EndSARS protests going on around the country. I switched to the “SOROSOKE” radio to get updates. That is where I learnt that there was a mammoth crowd gathered at Lekki Toll Gate. While monitoring events on the radio, I was looking through Nairaland, Facebook and any other available social media platform.
Then came the ominous announcement that soldiers had arrived the Toll Gate, venue of the protest. A little after 8pm, SOROSOKE radio began to report that there has been shooting at the Toll Gate at Lekki. They requested we go to DJ Switch Instagram handle. I went there but it appeared her phone batteries had run out and she had stopped broadcasting. By then video footages of the shooting had begun to emerge. Pictures of blood soaked clothing, people trying to remove bullets from wounds and pictures of slain youths began to fly around the internet. It was now about 11pm. I was tired but I needed to keep tab of things. The body was weary at this point. My last update on Facebook yesterday was to change my cover picture to that of the blood soaked clothing of the flag of Nigeria with the caption: the New Nigerian flag.
I woke up this morning and the word that came to mind was “CAUTION”. So I took to Facebook again and I wrote:
“Friends, at this moment no one knows who ordered the shooting at Lekki. We should “CALM DOWN” and wait for the outcome of the govt investigations into the shooting. What I sense very strongly is that Lekki is the product of some trigger happy policemen. The very thing the EndSARS campaigns are all about. Right now, however, we cannot return fire for fire, lest soceity burns down and anarchy rules. Every nation is only one step to Egypt or Syria (or even Libya). So let the protests continue, PEACEFULLY, while govt fishes out those animals that did the shooting yesternight.”
I left only the first few words on the main post and attached the remaining to the comment sections. Perhaps people did not see the remainder of the comment. I have gotten all sorts of negative responses to the post; which is a sign that people are angry and they cannot tolerate any advise on caution. Unfortunately these are the very sentiments our soceity does not need.
I relayed my experience yesterday to make you to understand that I shared similar frustrations with most Nigerians yesterday but I woke up this morning with another mindset entirely and I want to expound on that.
In every crisis there are always two sides to the story. People will usually peddle the side that helps their own narrative and turn a blind eye to other possibilities. As I write this, I am coming to that conviction that there is no government in Nigeria today, Federal or State, that will sanction the killing of innocent protesters. I hold the possibility that in seeking to descredit those in government, people could have don on military fatigue and come to the protest ground and kill protesters – thereby placing blood on the doorsteps of those in government. I do not hold this position as sanscrsant but as a possible that we should not be closed to.
The other possibility is that some overzealous security officials took it on themselves to carry out these attacks. These are the options we must keep in mind, along with all the conspiracy theories that are being peddled against government.
Now if we see all the possibilities, what these will engender in us is caution! Of course the other possibility is to throw caution to the wind and cause soceity to degenerate into anarchy. No one will benefit from a situation where there is break down of law and order.
Those who are insulting me should keep it in mind that I have supported the EndSARS protests from day one. I am equally appalled at the thoughts of young people being killed. But I would not support anything that will lead to breakdown of law and order. By God’s mercies, I have become an opinion maker in this country and I never make opinions that are popular; I make my opinions mainly on what is truthful and beneficial.
I am positive if we exercise some restraints, we will find out what really happened at Lekki yesterday and we can solve this national embarrassment without burning down the country.