Nigeria has always killed its citizens.
It killed them in the infamous pogroms against the Igbo people in the 1960s in Northern Nigeria, and it devolved into slaughtering them in the hundreds of thousands (or millions by some accounts) in the Biafran War that continues to haunt our national imagination.
It killed them in several protests during and against military rule in the 1970s long before I was born, and killed them again in the 1980s when I was just a child. It killed them in the 1990s when citizens dared to step into the streets to demand the announcement of the winner of the historic June 12 elections, and killed them again in my teens, under the presidency of General Sani Abacha.
Democracy didn’t rid Nigeria of its hunger for blood. From 1999, Nigeria has killed citizens everywhere from Odi, Bayelsa where thousands were killed in what is now known as the Odi Massacre, to Maiduguri in Borno.
In response to public protest, it kills people.
In response to criminals and domestic terrorists, it kills its people as collateral damage in blunt, disorganised battles against better equipped enemies, and by its sheer incompetence and corruption.
The Nigerian security forces are particular experts at murdering Nigerians. In fact, we have gotten used to it. Gotten used to hundreds killed for peaceful self-determination protests. Gotten used to the numbers of people killed, tortured, arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad that we are presently protesting again. Gotten used to the tens that have been killed, in an ongoing onslaught on citizens by security forces since we started these #EndSARS protests two weeks ago.
Read the piece on Mail & Guardian here.