Black Tuesday

by Joseph Ikhenoba


This is a police brutality saga that occured in 2020. Innocent protesters were shot and arrested brutally and corpses taken away for demanding for their rights.

Since they graduated in 2015, Derek and his two mates Efosa and Ovie have been jobless. They weren't unqualified; rather, there was nepotism. With their worn-out shoes, they have traipsed through all of Lagos' streets. They face daily challenges in providing for their younger siblings and elderly parents. Conrad studied Biochemistry at the University of Benin, while Derek and Efosa studied Mechanical Engineering there. One morning, Derek sat by himself under the Obalende Bridge, angry and depressed about his father's passing from prostate cancer. Although, his mother had retired from teaching, her pension wasn't consistent. His three younger children continued to attend school. He performed a variety of menial tasks for the household because he is the firstborn.

His father's family weren’t even be aware of them. He considered how to begin his life while in this intense daydream. He had to settle down and start a family. All of these ideas made him feel depressed. In contrast, Efosa had started selling recharge cards. He lost his father several years ago and has six younger siblings. He struggled to support his family because he was also the first child. His lack of money even caused his girlfriend to break up with him. He was in such anguish. But life continues. In a family of nine kids, Ovie was the second child.

The first child, however, had passed away in infancy. He had to support his family as a result. His mother's small business wasn't sufficient to support the family, and his father hadn't received his pension as a Nigerian Railway Worker in seven months. He was employed as a transporter and security guard.

“Come down, Mr. Man!” One of the officers, who was holding a rifle in his right hand, yelled.

"What crime have I committed, what for officer?" He worriedly enquired.

"You don't have the right to question us. We can tell that you're a yahoo boy. The policeman made an accusation.

The young man got out and handed them his identification. They didn't give a damn. He was told to accompany them to the station. But the young man persisted in his refusal. He kept asserting his rights. The police beat him brutally and shot his right foot when they saw he wasn't willing to co-operate. The man was lying down in a pool of blood. They then sped off in their vehicle. The victim was taken to the hospital by bystanders, but he passed away. The information spread like wildfire throughout the nation. The populace was furious. A few instances of police brutality had been covered up throughout the years. The populace, however, were resolved to put an end to these.

The young people made the decision to organize nationwide protests and form advocacy forums. The three friends joined the demonstrations as well. Regarding police brutality, everyone expressed their views. However, just as the three friends were preparing to head home at 6:50 p.m., after a successful protest at Lekki toll gate, suddenly, a group of armed military guys pulled up in their vehicles. Lights were turned off and CCTV cameras were taken down. They sang the national anthem before randomly opening fire on defenseless demonstrators. When Derek was struck, one of the bullets was splattered with his blood. He was saved by Efosa and Ovie, who tied their vest around his legs to stop severe blood loss. There was no way to rush him to a nearby hospital as they were beleaguered by the military.

The shootings went on for more than 45 minutes, during which time many victims were carried by police and military personnel to an unidentified location.

Derek shivered and started crying.

“Please spare me from death!” He spoke softly.

“You won't.” warmly grasping his palm, Efosa remarked.

"Tell my mum I died for freedom." He left with these remarks.

The two friends were in excruciating pain. They fled for cover as they noticed a soldier approaching them. Following the shootings, the soldiers left with the bodies in their vehicles. The two buddies looked for Derek's body but were unsuccessful. The soldiers were under suspicion. As black vultures groused for carrion, tears and sadness filled the air with the questions “Who ordered the shootings?"

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