The year 2020 has come layered with traumatic blows to our mental health and our economic system. From the coronavirus pandemic to the recent horrifying Lekki Massacre, Nigerians have had to go through a lot. Many are still tossing in their sleep, with vivid images of peaceful protesters screaming for their lives haunting their dreams.
The #EndSARS protest started out promising despite the many events threatening its progress. While the demands of the protest were simple, several oppositionists tried to create scenarios that would jeopardize the credibility and peace of the protest. Of the many incidents that happened since the start of the protest, the ‘Lekki shootings’ remains one of the most shocking things that Nigerians have had to behold.
A quick summary. Brave youths had stayed back after Lagos governor, Sanwo-Olu placed a curfew in the state barely 4 hours away from the set time at 4 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2020. At 7-8 PM, Nigerian security operatives fired guns at these peaceful protesters, and over 150,000 Nigerians watched it happen live on DJ Switch’s Instagram live feed.
Despite the live feed and videos that showed people being gunned down and other protesters tending to gunshot victims, the governor stated that no life was lost. And veteran Nigerian actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, seems to have subtly played into this narrative as well.
On Twitter, the actress stated her take on the Lekki shooting; creating a huge debacle between herself and her fans. Omotola, however, deleted it after stating that it was misinterpreted.
I’m deleting that tweet so it’s not used wrongly. Apologies as it’s been misunderstood. Sorry about the use of “ if” . Please don’t distrust Everyone there are steadfast people . Know them. We move #endimpunityinNigeria #Endpolicebrutality #EndBadGoveranceInNigeria
— Dr Omotola .j. Ekeinde , MFR (@Realomosexy) October 23, 2020
In the tweet, the actress requested evidence of the shooting by asking families of the bereaved to step forth. She also stated that whoever is responsible for the attack on protesters at Lekki should be held accountable for their actions.
Following her tweet, a few Nigerians shared their disappointment with the actress while others stood in support of her.
Here are a few reactions:
This is INCOHERENT, inhumane and very offensive. So if "their people" were not as loud as you because of the trauma of lost, then NOBODY died? It is now "if" and "sensationalisation". "Dr" and "MFR" indeed
— Chibuikem Nnaeme (@NnaemeChibuikem) October 23, 2020
She enjoy certain things from the bad governance now if not I don't see a sane human being asking this question I mean not someone as resourceful as she is even BBC showed dead body
— EndsarsNOW (@Lagosmediaguy) October 23, 2020
Remember @DrOlufunmilayo said government PR and social media influencers will start coming out to claim the deaths and injuries are exaggerated.
Omotola is one of the government social media influencers
IF YOU DON'T KNOW BEFORE, NOW YOU KNOW
— Big Uncle 🔴🕊️ (@Usmanashafe) October 23, 2020
Thank you ma’am for speaking my mind
— obianuju (@obianuj42858712) October 23, 2020
I can’t believe this nonsense!!! This is pure insanity and total lack of empathy, Omotola!! “IF”, are you blind??? Or you are one of the dumbos that think live videos can be doctored? https://t.co/tHohfuRbXX
— IYA ONI WEAVES (@Auntyfeyi) October 23, 2020
While Omotola has been a vocal advocate in the #EndSARS movement, her comment on the Lekki killings has branded her as insensitive. The atmosphere is heavy, and Nigerians are still grieving. If there was ever a time where it was ‘not the time’, it is now. With grief still lining the eyes and lips of burdened protesters, throwing statements that cast doubt on the tragic Lekki Massacre is truly awful.
Lekki tollgate shooting: We counted about 15 people that died — DJ Switch pic.twitter.com/AInvjbucTU
— Instablog9ja (@instablog9ja) October 23, 2020
In the live Instagram video that housed over 150,000 Nigerians, gunshots were heard with people running all over the place, and DJ Switch in the video had said that the security operatives took away some dead bodies. This is a fact. There is no if about it. Thousands witnessed it live. While Omotola might not have intended to be insensitive or counter-productive, it came across as all those things.
Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya