I was sitting typing among friends this afternoon when I heard someone say, “That guy just died for nothing.” I thought they were discussing Precious Owolabi‘s death, so I paid no mind and continued typing. But when someone mentioned musician, I figured it had to be someone else. I asked, “What guy?”
My friends told me the story of Zinquest, a musician whose real name is Chinedu Obi, and was shot and killed by a police officer with the Sango Area Command.
Chinedu had been arrested by the officers. They say a complaint had been lodged after he got into a fight. But we know it’s most likely because he had tattoos on his body–or isn’t that enough reason to be tagged a criminal by the Nigerian police?
Chinedu had reportedly broken free and with an axe destroyed the windshield of cars parked in the station. The police say he attacked an officer with the axe and the officer was forced to shoot him in the foot. And, you know what? Okay. Let’s say the officer acted in self-defence. Let’s give them that.
The police claim they took Chinedu to the hospital, but videos show the singer in a pool of his own blood in the police station. You can hear him plead with those recording him, asking that they call his parents to come ferry him to the hospital. But the people around continued to take photos and videos of him dying. They criticised him for breaking windshields. They cursed him. Chinedu died.
I just find it funny because no one is as afraid of dying as much as a Nigerian. We’re so afraid of death. It rattles our world when someone we know–no need to even love the person– dies. Yet, somehow, we find murdering a stranger easy. Somehow it’s impulse to ignore the cries of a dying person.
See, I don’t know, but this is death we’re talking about. What could Chinedu have done that letting him die was seen the the right choice.
What did he do that they killed him?
It’s been rumoured, too, that #DapchiGirl Leah Sharibu, who has been in captivity for 17 months, has been murdered by her Boko Haram (ISWAP, actually) captors. A new captive of the Islamist group revealed this. The Federal Government has done that thing where they release a statement saying plenty words but actually saying nothing. That life, too, shall be forgotten.
Precious Owolabi. Leah Sharibu. Chinedu Obi. Three young souls, from different parts of Nigeria, all in one week.
I don’t know, I’ve just been thinking. So if I too get shot by the police while they aim at unarmed protesters, or if I get shot after I am arrested illegally, or if I get killed by the uselessness of the country’s security apparatus, is that how I will be forgotten? Will my country people watch me beg to live, then die, with their phones in my face? Will my death, too, mean nothing?