My people, #nigerianlivesmatter – Peju Akande

My people, #nigerianlivesmatter – Peju Akande

Last week, America made us witness one of its darkest moments in history, the shooting to death of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

See, I said America made us witness it, I even recall the names of the victims of these untimely deaths, thanks to CNN, twitter and a gazillion of American media news outlets pouring in the details second by second.

Ask any social media savvy Nigerian to name the towns and parents of the victims, chances are that they’ll probably recall these too. They’ll also recall the hashtag #Blacklivesmatter, many of us retweeted it in solidarity, nothing wrong with that, except that we as Nigerians can never fully understand what it is to be black around here, not in the same context the average African American would, I’m sure.

But hey, what’s the name of that hawker boy that was knocked down while being chased by KAI  two weeks back…ermm… not one of the news reports got his name, he’s a nobody, why is his name important?

candle light gif

Ok, how about naming just one family that was hacked to death in the recent Fulani massacre in Benue state? Name just one family or perhaps, name the village where it occurred…ermm…ermmm, no name comes to mind.

Issorait. Can anyone recall the name of the female preacher hacked to death in Abuja just two days ago? Why don’t we have a hashtag for her? It’s easier to relate with a murdered preacher around here than #blacklives matter because, have you noticed we are all black around here? In the United states of Nigeria, we are predominantly black. In fact, any white face is abnormal, goes against the grain, is the odd one out, so why are we chanting #blacklivesmatter when we should be screaming ourselves hoarse that Eunice Elisha was hacked to death right in her own community? Why weren’t we up in arms when John Nnamdi the hawker was crushed under a truck while escaping marauding KAI officials, why aren’t we wearing bandanas to protest the death of families that were murdered in their sleep by Fulani herdsmen? Don’t their lives matter to us?

When I read of how the Abuja preacher woman, Eunice Elisha died, I was in pain. This woman from reports is a regular feature in that area, around Pipeline in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja an area I believe should be residential, (otherwise, why would she be preaching where no one would hear her?) and being residential, I imagine there’ll be early risers, some who knew she’d come preaching and use that as their cue to get up from bed. I know I depend on the early morning call to prayer from the mosque in my area to rouse me.

So a few people may have heard her scream when she was struck the first blow by whatever object that was used to eventually murder her in cold blood. Even before the second blow hit, drawing a fountain of blood, her survival mode must have kicked in, forcing her to fight her assailants with everything she had, nails, feet, teeth, whatever.

Was that the point when she started screaming for help as she saw the unwavering intent to kill in the eyes of the cowards who took her life. In fact, one report said she screamed for help, that blood curdling scream that will rouse the laziest of sleepers and yet, no help came. There are photos of her lifeless body on the road like a street dog.

What about photos of the culprits? If people were afraid for their lives while she was being butchered to death, they could at least have captured photos of the culprits to help police and the general public identify the murderers living in their midst. After all, that’s how we got to know details of Alton and Castile’s deaths in America?

So why didn’t anyone run out to help?

I don’t have the answers, perhaps people were too scared for their lives – perfectly understandable, what is not is remaining silent.

It can also be deduced that her killers were people known in the neighborhood, if she was murdered because she was disturbing the peace of certain people, then those people aren’t strangers in that community. They are known. They should be exposed, they should be brought to justice because tell you what, the blood of the hundreds of thousands that have been shed in our land, be it over religion, sex, poverty, farmland grazing, intolerance of any sort, their blood will not be silent. They will cry out and drown the peace we imagine we have.

Read more from Peju

Daddy, please don’t join Facebook – Peju Akande

What do you have down under? Afro, Mohawk or desert by Peju Akande



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