By CHIKA MEFOR-NWACHUKWU
October 23, 2020 was the day the paths of two men, Ebere Udechukwu and Uche Chiagozie, crossed. Nothing pleasant followed the meeting because one of them died that day, while the other lived to tell a tragic story.
It was the period when the #EndSars protests rocked Nigeria. The country’s young populations across cities were protesting police brutality, calling, specifically for the disbandment of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a notorious formation of the Nigeria Police Force, as part of a popular push for police reforms. SARS officers have been blamed for human rights abuses, including extrajudical killings, mostly unpunished by the authorities.
In Enugu State, like many other states in the country, people came out to stage the protest. On the day when the paths of Udechukwu and Chiagozie crossed, the cops who were sent by the state government to quell the protest, shot at innocent people and killed some of them, leaving many others injured. “That day, some miscreants hijacked the protest in some places,” Chiagozie narrated. “I had just finished eating at the Ejindu Park in the Coal Camp. I was heading towards my house at Mission Avenue when the police in their armoured car moved in. I saw one of the policemen open the armoured tank and started shooting.”
Chiagozie, who was then a student at the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) Province of Nigeria, South East, had come home from Imo State where he was doing his six-week apostolic work – a prerequisite for his attaining the next level of Philosophy – to see his sick father. After seeing his father, he went on to get some food to quench his hunger as he was suffering from ulcer, and that was what turned out to be his most unfortunate move. He got caught in the shooting; an incident that has changed his life forever.
Read the full stories of victims of EndSARS who wallow in pains, anguish amidst unfulfilled promises by the Enugu Government. Link to Original post:
Support for this report was provided by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID Africa) and it is made possible through funding support from The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).