Collectively, Nigerians are meant to be attending therapy on account of the constant gaslighting they’ve received from the government. Having to constantly reassure yourself of what you saw with your eyes in the face on insistent denials from the government can be very traumatising. Knowing fully well that, at best, one can only receive the President’s words with a pinch of salt shatters any confidence in the nation’s ability to progress.
After the tragic shootings that took place at the Lekki tollgate on the 20th of October 2020, where armed soldiers opened fire on peaceful protesters, the Nigerian government had initially insisted that the Nigerian army was never at the scene. Only to make a 180 turn; saying that they had been at the scene but had not shot anyone. The government has since been playing a game of evasiveness since the incident; refusing to admit to anything significant. If not that Nigerians had seen the event take place via a live stream, they’d have succeeded in planting huge seeds of doubt.
In a similar vein, the government is ploughing the path of half-truths and deception, after the abduction of students that took place in Kankara, Katsina State last week. Reports had initially indicated that over 600 students had been abducted. Then, the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, confirmed that over 300 students had been abducted from the Government Science Secondary School in Katsina.
The tune quickly changed as the Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, emerged to say that many children had fled, and only 10 children had been left in the hands of the gunmen.
“Some of the children who fled the bush said that 10 children were being held hostage by the gunmen,” Shehu told BBC.
How can the governor of the state and the presidency have such differing statements? It smells like an attempt to reduce the gravity of the situation, and it truly is an awful strategy. Over 300 students are missing; parents are in a panic. What the government should be doing is applying all necessary pressure in getting the students rescued. Yet here they are playing dodgeball with numbers.
It weighs heavy on the heart that this is the kind of response to expect from the Nigerian government. The lives of hundreds of students are on the line. Imagine how the children must be feeling; scared, afraid and terrified. Yet those in charge of their rescue are showing blatant ineffectiveness.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks