As the Keke Marwa reached Ile-Iwe junction, I counted 21 police vans and an armored tank surrounded by gun-flashing officers. They were restless and harassing passersby. No regrets whatsoever. Nothing apologetic.
“They murdered one of us and still keep beating us up, which kind thing be this?” Before one could query more, three fiery officers, cursing and spitting, pounced on one of the riders beating him down with kondos and bats. The young man struggled with them, shouting with blood spilling out his mouth and forehead; ” you guys will kill us all today!”
Moving to the other side of the road, I was able to ask many others who still dared to stay and I gathered that a police officer murdered an keke rider with a dagger all because he refused to pay a N100 bribe.
Tunde Eleyele is a husband who hustled by riding a tricycle (keke) that belongs to his friend and boss, Lekan. He had paid all his dues (as daily tickets) to the National Union of Road Transport Employees (NURTW) and happily continued to ride on as he still had a two-week deficit to pay to his boss. But as soon as he was stopped by a police officer asking for an N100 bribe, he confidently asked to pay later after two or more trips. But the officer in response angrily pulled out a dagger from his pocket and like-play-like-play stabbed Tunde Eleyele in the chest and pulled this downwards!
All around Command Bus stop were shocked and started mobbing the officer until he escaped through the interventions of some soldiers around. Then the mass started a protest. The Lagos State Task Force moved in and started harassing the protesters and beating passersby rubbing; much more insults on the deadly injuries. For five hours, this madness of injustice continued till about 3:00 pm when some of the riders managed to converge at Command, away from the Ile-Iwe junction where the Meiran Police station is. But in a few minutes, the Task Force moved down and started shooting at the crowd, killing a teenage vulcanizer while three others got hospitalized as a result of bullet wounds. The soldiers at Command who saved the murderer police officer initially had to rise back in hostility to the Task Force.
This incident is one out of plenty. Just last week, soldiers in Ijebu were filmed shooting live ammunition straight at protesting students of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED). After the #EndSARS movement, many now feel the rulers have learned nothing. This is the crux of this piece. Our rulers are actually doing what their ideas teach them. They are trying to use the famous Fascist formula of deepening the “blood and mud” so as to rule harder and weaken the masses’ resolves.
That police and military brutalities are now worse after the Great #EndSARS Rebellion is employing the logic of the wicked by spilling more blood so others can get softened. Buhari is trying to weaken resistance by doubling the attacks. This is why the government which cannot curtail insecurity in the North continues to kill people protesting this gruesome situation in the region.
Youths, activists, and the Left in Nigeria must understand that the #EndSARS movement has shown to the ruling class the very possibility of a revolution. The Labour movement should serve as a bulwark against state repression and police brutality. But its bureaucracy and the trajectory of the Old Left have been far from concrete opposition to state violence, thereby undermining prospects of radical change. There is a need to keep intensifying political actions and advancing strategies through constant and relentless organizing.
The #EndSARS memorial activities were quite successful. But these could not reawaken the massive surge of last year’s movement. That shows that, while a lot of work has gone into keeping the fires of resistance burning, there is a need for renewed and concerted political work. The pains seem to overshadow the gains of work over the last year. if the renewed violence of the ruling class is anything to go by. But the expected hard counterattacks usually show a great play of pressures on the same oppressors. They are quite jittery. This is why they are afraid of any protest or critical gathering.
As we want #JusticeForTundeEleyele and the slain Vulcanizer, we must make sure we get more plenty and adopt radical ways of organizing. Police and soldiers are protecting those who are destroying our futures. They will stab and be more violent, just like their ogas at the top. So, we too must upgrade our organization. We must stop our relationships with ideas and parties of the oppressors like PDP and APC. Any support for these parties and their ideas are the same for Buhari, Atiku, and others who are destroying our futures.
Summing up would also mean that parties, groups, and ideas of the people must also start getting bolder and more open. The African Action Congress (AAC) and other formations must endure leaping farther now, gapping off internal and external distractions while also beefing up more stout and pointal on legal and political fronts. AAC also needs to win other parties of the oppressed over in a gigantic unity. The advantage of the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) heralding a new national and global networking must in its fullest, be harnessed.
by Kunle Wizeman AJAYI