Esther Chizaram Ngele: 8th October

Dear Diary,

What a day to feel alive! Today we conquer the fear of death and face our oppressors. Today we live up to our black belt title, ‘The Giants of Africa’. Today, we take the bull by the horns.  We say enough is enough!

Dear Diary, I’ve never been more proud to call myself a Nigerian like now. With this generation, a generation of youths with empathy for the human lives. A generation that is indeed, their brothers’ keeper.

Oh our brothers and sisters whose names we remember with broken hearts and sad eyes. Our tongues get stuck to the roof of our mouths because fear had repressed our voices. Fear for our lives and future.

But what future do we stand to witness when we live in fear of our security unit? A unit that was ideally created to help us overcome the menace of armed robbery, car snatching, and crimes associated to firearms. But has become the beast we all fear. We develop severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) when we meet eye to eye. See what happens when hunters begin to hunt themselves!

A unit created with special needs in mind to curb fear from the citizenry, now scare us to a heart attack. We see them and we are immediately in fear. Fear of being harassed, embrassed and brutalised.

Founded in 1992, under the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), as a faceless police, has become the terrorising and haunting face of the Police unit. A straight bullet targeted against the Nigerian youths.

The youths who must hustle out the means to their future, or stand a chance of being branded lazy. ‘Youths with nothing but data and sacarsm’ they say.

The criminals still dwell among us but our brothers and sisters go missing. This is why the reformation into SWAT (Special Weapon and Tactics Team), sounds like baptism with no repentance. So we plead the blood of the dead and ours.

But today dear diary, this generation has felt the rioting of the dead souls. So we stand with a big attitude to protest. The land of the dead have been scarred by untimely visits of our dead brothers and sisters. Their beds were not made before their arrival so they scuttle in regrets. We feel their pain but worst, fear we might be next if cowardice persists. So we march! Marching forward with nothing to lose. Without fear and challenging all lies. SARS has long out-lived it use!

Today we rescue our lives from bondage. We present reasons for, and means to freedom.

We call for ‘5for5’: 

  • Immediate release of all arrested during the protests.
  • Justice and compensation for all deceased victims of police brutality.
  • An independent body to be set up within 10 days to investigate and prosecute all reports of police misconduct.
  • A psychological evaluation and retraining of SARS operatives before they are deployed to other police unit
  • And also, adequate remuneration for the Nigerian police.

What other way to show we have nothing against the Police unit but against the misconducts which could be triggered by poverty and psychological imbalance?

Today Nigeria can hit her chest and shout, ‘indeed I am the Giant of Africa!’

We say no to all forms of brutality, corruption and mental slavery. We are Nigerians and we are strong.

Dear Diary, October 8th came with a force.

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