Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Uzoma Okereke... The Story of Injustice

One December evening in the city of Montgomery, a 42 year old woman headed home after an exhausting day at work. Her feet ached, and she wanted nothing more than to experience some comfort without disturbance. She boarded a bus for home, and as the bus became crowded, she was told to give up her seat for a white passenger. The woman remained seated. Not the threats of being arrested; not the insults hauled at her; not the fear of what life would be after such blatant disregard to some ridiculous segregation laws would deter her. She stood her grounds; apparently she wasn’t only tired physically, but was tired of the lesser life she was forced to live because of the colour of her skin.
A new struggle was born because one woman dared to fight back a system that was inhuman.
Her name was Rosa Parks.

53 years later, the atrocity lives on, and we suffer; not only for being black, but for having to live amongst power-drunken, ill-tempered, low-class military authorities with no respect or regard for human dignity. Apparently we are lesser beings compared to the armed authorities in Nigeria; or how do we begin to describe the incredulous act of November 5, 2008, when Uzoma Okereke was attacked, dragged, beaten, with clothes ripped off her back because the young lady who, just like Rosa Parks, was coming from work exhausted, wanted nothing more but to experience some comfort without hindrance, only to be brutally disturbed by the whips and guns of Nigerian Navy men. Just one woman, locked in the typical Lagos traffic, molested by six armed men.
What was her crime? She wouldn’t move her vehicle off the road for a certain Rear Admiral Harry Olufemi Arogundade's personal Navy saloon car and his pilot truck to blast past an impossible traffic jam. Yes, that is the crime; and like the crazy white fellows on board a bus on Montgomery in 1955, these Navy men with such deft ripped a woman of her dignity and right as a human being to live and let live. Where is our pride as a nation when we disregard simple principles of life that makes us not just mere animals roaming senselessly in the jungle? Why should we condone such cruelty in the wake of our democracy?
Miss Okereke’s saga is the tale of many Nigerians – men and women badly treated by the same authorities that should protect them. And we keep quiet. Oh, the curse of a nation! We keep quiet because we are afraid of what the consequences might be if we should speak out, and fight for justice.
Uzoma did not keep quiet. As she was dragged, pushed, and beaten on the streets of Victoria Island, she fought back like a valiant woman, and went a step further to sue the men for trying to take her liberty. The case will be heard at Lagos High Court.
We salute her courage, and also applaud Governor Fashola – whose veracity and uprightness is needed for a time as this. The governor’s aid towards her hospital and legal bills is heart-warming.
As we look forward to the hearing, eagerly awaiting verdict, I ask that we all learn to fight for our right. Silence isn’t always golden. For the sake of our children let this barbaric acts by armed authorities be put to stop – once and for all.


Allied said...

I hope you are back for good! And I thank you for keeping to your promise. This story saddens me. I read about it and I have been thinking about it ever since. Are these people not human? How come they have become so cold hearted? I heard the stupid admiral was going to a club house. Does he not have a mother, perhaps sisters? I hope true justice prevails and he is used as a scapegoat to all who think we are lesser human beings just because we are not sitting in an air-conditioned car or not living in that big villa.

Miss Okereke, I am glad you were not silent. Even though I am sure a lot of people would have told you to let it go, I am proud you voiced out

Mommy said...

Isi is baaack!!! Yiipppeeeeee!

princesa said...

I hope Justice takes it course.

bumight said...

there was an "Isi sighting" on allied's blog, and i rushed here to see if u were back for real!

I'm glad Miss Okereke's story is being taken up by the media and other activists.

Onome said...

honestly....i saw dat video and i was furious...i felt like calling down thunder, fire and all manner of torture and torment on those animals...i felt like calling down God's judgment on them...I pray the court will do them justice

Jinta said...

i will take a look at the video sometime soon, though i know the images will distress me. Our so-called 'leaders', save for maybe fashola, are not worthy of that title

Shubby Doo said...

i hope justice is served...we need to stand up against this in Nigeria...4 2 long it has been seen as the norm...i hope our generation and future genrations continue to fight thi madness becasue people should never have to suffer as such 4 no reason

bArOquE said...

please may the real Isi please stand up...


Ekoakete said...

Aye! I applaud Uzoma Okereke's courage and sincerely hope those responsible for her mistreatment are brought to justice.

Long time. Where've you been?