EndSAR: Lagos Has Fallen But No One Claimed Responsibility

EndSAR-Lagos Has Fallen But No One Claimed Responsibility

Some say it’s best to start from the beginning, so we’ll do just that, we’ll start from the hot humid air hanging around Lagos on a certain Tuesday, the saturated traffic heavily marked by yellow danfo buses, and the youth corper commuting to work with a smug grin on his face. His name was Ralph and today, he was more bubbly than usual, it was Ife’s birthday, after all, ignoring the wailing baby on his left and the chubby middle-aged man on his right, he picked up his phone to call her.

“Hey you! ” She said in a sing-song voice

Ralph laughed a burst of genuinely hearty laughter.

“Birthday pikin, I’m now you abi? “He mocked.

“You’ve called me that 3 times today” She whined “And it’s only 8 am”

“You haven’t seen anything” He laughed again “I’ll spam you with birthday teasings all day long.”

“Spam all you want, let it not just be a bribe to forget my gift “

“Anything for you Ife, I’m giving you a blank cheque “

“Oshey! ” She burst into laughter “Otedola has spoken! “

Ralph stared at the conductor thrusting his hand forward.

“I’ll speak to you later, I love you”

The conductor had scars on his face and the workout t-shirt and jeans he wore didn’t help him look any better, he thrust his hand forth again as if he was going to beat Ralph up.

Ralph dipped his hand into his pocket, the money he had kept wasn’t there, he brought out his bag and rummaged before he finally found it.

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He heaved a sigh of relief before giving the annoyed conductor the transport fare.

Ralph did not understand why he felt so anxious that day, it was almost as if something wasn’t right but he was trying to figure out what it was. The only thing that brightened up his day was the thought of Ife, he smiled again just thinking of her

They had met in their first week of camp, he was in a queue waiting for his turn to get food when suddenly someone suddenly cut the line right in front of him, he was infuriated and others joined to support him to fight for his right, one of those people was Ife, and they would later go on to laugh about it at lunch and talk about how that event was one of the ways corruption started in Nigeria.

Ralph snapped out of his thoughts.

He didn’t even get the chance to sit on his desk before he was told that he had been assigned to report on the recent uprisings going on in the area, this wouldn’t be a problem if there weren’t ghost workers collecting fat paychecks for the jobs he did, he had been breaking his back all month at work even on his off days and he simply wished he could spend the day with Ife, but that wasn’t panning out.

As he got set to move, a text popped up from Ife stating all she wanted were red roses, Ralph grinned, not with his sense of humor, he would get her white roses and the ring he had bought last week to propose, he had been waiting for the perfect time and he knew this was it, they had been dating for almost a year and he knew that might look like a short time to most people, but Ife was his safe space and he looked forward to a lifetime with her, he couldn’t wait to see her reaction.

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So even as he stopped by the flower shop and the protest site, he didn’t mind the hassle of it all, as he documented the chaos, the hoodlums, the smoke sifting through from another burnt building, he pondered gloomily on the state of the nation, the economic recession, and the corruption, on one end of the street, a security officer aimed tear gas at frightened protesters, in another axis, some hoodlums were drenching parked cars with petrol, the atmosphere was heavy with tension, it was a mess. He knew the country had failed the people particularly the youths, but he was determined to make the best out of it, As he slowly unpacked his gear, he felt a sharp plunging pain in his chest, he looked down, puzzled and then he saw it, a stray bullet wound had caused a bright red splotch on his NYSC T-shirt, he dropped on his knees, then down on the ground in a pool of his own blood and it was all a blur.

It’s one thing to hear about the demise of a loved one, but it’s another thing to get that news on one’s birthday, Ife burst through the hospital door where Ralph had already been pronounced dead, she felt a cold wave of grief, like a thousand knives piercing through her soul, after a while of wailing, she was given Ralph’s things, the tears returned with renewed vigor, she saw the ring and the roses he had bought, they were red all right, bright red from the stain of his blood.

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