I would say good day to everyone but there is nothing good about the day. We are grateful for the home training but there’s time for everything. We the youths are in a fight for our lives, we know you don’t get it because you are protected by “age” but we will try to explain as simply as we can.
Dear daddy, you know how you won’t even let mommy access your phone, yeah, now imagine a total stranger asking for access to your phone and laptop. Dear mommy, you know how you can’t go out without those expensive jewelries, yeah, imagine someone giving you a hot slap or shooting you just for wearing something expensive. This may not explain the grief and grim the average Nigerian youth goes through at the hands of law enforcement especially the SARS operatives but this is the simplest we can break it down.
For parents who believe SARS operatives only harass people with dreadlocks and distress jeans (even though there’s nothing wrong with it) well you’re wrong, the only requirement for getting harassed is being under 40. To those parents who agree with police harassing people with dreadlocks because they look “suspicious”, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of Evans the kidnapper; does he look “suspicious”?
When will your generation stop focusing on aesthetics? All the criminals you put in power who wear agbada don’t keep dreadlocks but they pocket millions of dollars with impunity, do they look suspicious? So who is the real thief, who is the real criminal?
Your generation sat back and watched while they mortgaged the future of your children simply because “it doesn’t affect me”, but here you are one or two generations later your children have ‘no jobs, bad education, no light, no water, no good road’ the list goes on. Yet the privileged ones decided to send their children abroad and continue in silence.
Let me tell you the story of a young fine boy who came from abroad to visit his family but was shot and killed by the police because he refused to drop “anything for the boys”, it could’ve been anybody, so the abroad will not save you or your children when it comes to it. Did we ever think a time will come when we will all be locked down unable to go outside let alone travel abroad?
No! But here we are in 2020, that’s to say even your visa can fail you.
To cut the long story short, our generation did not inherit your culture of silence and docility. If you’re saying SARS has been disbanded so why are we still agitating, remember how they promised you good road, electricity etc?
Yeah, that’s how they disbanded SARS too. But we are not going to take empty promises, that is why we are back on the streets, we want to see action not empty words. You may have sat down and watched the country burn to ashes but we are rising from that ashes. You may have looked away while the world leaves your children behind but we will take back the future of our own children.
Your parents fought for independence so that you will not be slaves in your own country, instead you sold the country out but we will take it back.
We don’t want our children to have to write IELTS and SAT as a badge of honour anymore, we don’t want our children to see traveling abroad as an achievement. We want a Nigeria we don’t have to run from but rather bring people into. We want a country where we can be truly free regardless of your appearance, religion, tribe or social standing.
If this is not your vision for us then too bad. We are not asking you to join our fight, all we ask is that you don’t trivialise it, that you respect it. Because it didn’t happen to you or someone you know doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Our generation will not watch while some of our own get killed simply because it is not us. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther king Jr “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” because it is not you today does not mean it can’t be you tomorrow.
We will not wait till it’s our turn, we don’t want to just exist in our own country, we want to live because we matter. We may be young but we matter, we are your future.
Finally, in a wise woman’s words “We want a Nigerian society where the child of a nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody” because “No Nigerian is more Nigerian than any Nigerian” – Aisha Yesufu
#EndSARS #ReformthePolice #EndPoiceBrutalityinNigeria
A lazy Nigerian youth.
*Funto Babawale writes from Lagos.