With the gruesome murder of an African-American by a ‘white’ cop still causing widespread outrage across the world, some Nigerians in Lagos, on Monday, staged a walk in condemnation of the dastardly act.
The Black Lives Matter Movement in Nigeria (BLMMN), stormed the streets of Nigeria’s commercial capital despite the heavy downpour, in total condemnation of the indiscriminate killing of coloured people in the United States of America.
George Floyd died on May 25th after Derek Chauvin, then an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
On May 29th Mr Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
However, African-Americans and other sympathizers worldwide are demanding an end to the killings which is gradually becoming a regular occurrence in the US.
Speaking on behalf of the group, convener, Josephine Okpara said an end must be put to “white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities by the state and vigilantes”.
Madam Okpara expressed disgust at the manner blacks are being dehumanised, describing it as “ uncharitable and a gross disservice to our intellectual sense of existence in the world”.
According to her, the killing of Floyd is another grim example of how black lives have been disregarded by the state and their affiliates.
The Black Lives Matter Movement in Nigeria, therefore, expressed total solidarity with the global community in condemnation of the indiscriminate killing of black people.
Okpara said that their thoughts and prayers are with the families of those that have lost their lives by the shenanigans of the US government who have failed address this menace that has indeed put black people all over the United States of America at risk.
On behalf of the group, she, however, urged President Donald Trump and everyone in government to take up the challenge of making “ Black Lives Matter now and forever in the US”.
Read full address below:
We are all gathered here in solidarity with a global community the Black Lives Matter Foundation whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes, and combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centring Black joy.
The Black Lives Matter Movement in Nigeria is taking this peaceful march because indeed, Black Lives should matter in the scheme of things in the world. The oppressions and senseless killings of Blacks are uncharitable and a gross disservice to our intellectual sense of existence in the world.
Our consciousness must awake to this gross injustice that is deliberately meted out to Blacks in the United States of America. The recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Powderhorn, a neighbourhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota provides us with that grim example of how Black Lives have been disregarded and dehumanized by the state and their affiliates.
We are at a loss as to when this great injustice would abate. We are not slaves. We are not thieves or rogues. We are a people strong in our beliefs, resilient in our spirits, excellent in our careers and strong in our bond.
Black lives should indeed matter because they are children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers. They matter because the injustices we face steal from all of us. The white people and people of colour alike steal our very humanity.
Systemic and institutionalized racism are defining civil rights and social justice issues of our time. We’ve come to understand that to be silent about the violence and threats to the lives and well-being of Black people is to be complicit in that violence and those threats.
We say no to this, and we will rise in defence to our liberty to life, association and movement. Our offence is because we are coloured skin. But they must understand that been coloured skin does not and should not translate to state targeted violence and oppression against us.
We are dutiful in our rights, and we have excelled in our quest for self-actualization. This should not be used against us just because of the colour of our skin. They must realize that our skin colour is a reflection of the strength of our character in the face of adversary. It is a reflection of our value system that emphasizes resilience in our spirits.
The Black Lives Matter Movement in Nigeria is in total solidarity with the global community in condemnation of the indiscriminate killing of black people. This is indeed an anomaly that has been sustained over the years and under various administrations in the United States of America.
Today, the numbers are increasing daily with many George Floyds gone unnoticed. For how long can we continue to watch as many others are cut down in their prime just because of the colour of their skin?
We are in solidarity in Nigeria. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those that have lost their lives by the shenanigans of government in addressing this menace that has indeed put Black People all over the United States of America at risk.
Just as we are in solidarity, we are speaking from the top of our voices for the killings of Blacks in the United States of America to stop. From Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and the nook and crannies in Nigeria, our members are united in one voice. We say stop the killings of blacks in the United States of America.
Today it is George Floyd; tomorrow it might be Muyiwa, Nnamdi or Musa. We cannot fold our arms and watch our young men and women cut down in their prime. We in Nigeria stand with the protesters because it was not an isolated incident. It is a manifestation of the injustice that has been going on for decades in the United States of America.
The injustice and inequality in the United States of America is not about one situation; it is about one situation happening again and over again where Black Lives truly didn’t matter to those in authorities and to those whom we are paying to protect us.
In Nigeria, we recognize and share in the pains of the families and friends of George Floyd. We are in solidarity with the millions of Blacks in the United States of America that have poured out the streets in their numbers in condemnation of the indiscriminate killing of George Floyd.
The American government must rise to this challenge in the interest of peace. President Donald Trump, the governors, and mayors in all American cities must take up this challenge to make Black Lives Matter now and forever in the United States of America.
The history of the United States of America is not complete without the mention and contributions of African-Americans. Their exploits have been ingenious in various sectors of the American economy. And if for nothing else than this Black Lives should matter in the United States of America.
Our fists are raised to the heavens in a show of support to the global community fighting against the indiscriminate killing of Black people in the United States of America. For us in the Nigerian Chapter of the Black Lives Matter Movement, the killing of Black People can no longer continue. The death of George Floyd should bring to an end the indiscriminate and senseless killing of Black people in the United States of America.
Our words, thoughts and prayers are with Black people all over the world. We join our hands in the global initiative. We are blacks. We are strong. We are united, and we are free and free, indeed. Black Lives Matters now and in the years ahead.
This is a big fist in the air from Nigeria.