As Nigeria celebrates its 61st year independence anniversary from British colonialism, memories of nightmare from aftermaths of 2020 #EndSars protest had brought about mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media on whether citizens have reasons to celebrate independence or not.
Since the eve of independence day, Thursday, Sept. 30, the #Endsars #Nigeria@61 and #Nigeria dominated discussions on social media platforms where lots of citizens recount the memories of inability and failure on the part of the government to address the wellbeing of the citizens, insecurity, soaring inflation while some others expressed hope and belief in a better future for the country.
“There is no independence when the rights of one human being are hindered and thousands feel oppressed and unheard. #NigeriaAt61 #EndSARS,” a Twitter user with the name Zeblon wrote.
Flags with blood stains resurface
One of the topics that resurfaced on the social media Thursday and Friday, Oct.1 was the #EndSARS which reignited memories of those allegedly killed during the Oct. 20, 2020 protest at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Some Twitter users changed their Display Pictures (DP) to a blood stained Nigerian flag indicating the Oct. 2020 massacre as a reminder to the Nigerian government.
“Change your avi to the blood stained Nigeria flag in remembrance of our fallen heroes. 20.10.2020 is the official Independence Day for the Nigerian Youths. #EndSARS lives on!!” Nefertiti, a Twitter user wrote.
“None of us are free until all of us are free. Today, we remember the souls lost to state sanctioned violence in Nigeria #EndSARS,” Editi Effiong, another Twitter user, wrote.
Other Twitter users bemoaned the state of the nation as it affects the economy, security and wellbeing of the ordinary people.
“There’s nothing significant about today aside from the fact I’m alive, what are we celebrating exactly?” asked, Distractededu.
“A dip in the value of Naira? Insecurity of lives?The negligence of democracy? The massacre of #Endsars peaceful protesters? Tweeting with VPN? I feel ashamed and insulted #NigeriaAt61.”
“October 20, 2020 remain a day the NIGERIAN government under General Buhari who showed us the hatred they have always had against the Nigerian people just because we demanded to be free, safe and happy in our country with the call for #EndSARS. We will never forget! #EndSARS #EndSARS,” Akintunde Babatunde, a Chevening scholar lamented in his tweet.
Aisha Yesufu, popular woman activist who gained prominence during the #ENDSARS protest also changed her Twitter display picture to the blood stained Nigerian flag in remembrance of the Oct. 2020 killing at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza. On her Twitter timeline, Yesufu wrote, “We will not forget the massacre of 20-10-2020 by the Nigerian government led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo.#EndSars #LekkiMassacre.”
Hope not lost
Some Nigerians, however, expressed hope amidst dark clouds for better days in the country’s governance, leadership and exploits.
Dr Dipo Awojide ( Ogbeni Dipo), popular social media influencer in his message to celebrate the country’s 61st year independence, says he remains an eternal optimist. Though Awojide admits that the country is passing through a tough moment, he believes that there are better days ahead.
“But things are really bad in Nigeria at the moment. Ethnic division, police brutality, insecurity, policy summersault in several sectors, and disdain for useful criticisms and ideas. Things need to get better. Happy Independence Day. #NigeriaAt61.”
Kate Henshaw, popular movie artiste also tweeted, “That this is our reality at 61 saddens me to my spirit. Nigeria, a nation blessed with exceptional human & natural resources. So many things wrong and piling up every day.. We simply cannot continue on this path….we cannot.. I can only hope.”
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