Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Part 4.

This post is one in a Series. A list of all of the posts in this Series can be accessed here.

Who want SARS leg?

There is a group of people walking along the abandoned expressway.

About twenty minutes ago I heard an unfortunate SARS official was killed a few kilometres down the road.

I am pretty tired. I’ve been walking all day. I’ve walked about 24 kilometers (15 miles) so far. The cuffs of my ankle socks are beginning to rub hard against my insteps. I think I have a blister on my right foot.

I need to charge my phone.

I am at a fuel station, seated under a patio umbrella right next to the low metal gate at the entrance. The fluorescent bulbs under the umbrella are on.

I’m surprised there’s electricity here, especially given the general anarchy engendered by the protests. I think there are some solar panels somewhere. And a battery. I wonder why whoever manages this place would leave their electricity on, even while they weren’t operational.

I don’t know. Right now though, this means there is an opportunity to charge my phone. I’ve got a cable. I just need an adaptor.

Who want SARS leg?

There is a group of people walking along the abandoned expressway.

I turn in their direction. The guy with the “Who want SARS leg” chant has something in his right hand. I’m not quite sure what it is.

I think it’s a leg. I think it is a charred, severed human leg.

Oh now I think I see some toes.

Who want SARS leg?

It’s the leg of the SARS official who was killed. That’s true, I heard he was also dismembered.

Who want SARS leg?

I’m tired. I need to charge my phone. I’m too tired to contemplate the ethical connotation of these killings.

I am at Abraham Adesanya Roundabout.

It has taken me about a day and half to cover a distance that would usually take a vehicle about an hour on a good day.

I am sick of walking. I need a bus. This place looks busier than where I’m coming from. At least some buses should be operational here.

I am in a bus.

I finally got one.

We are moving.

Oya oya oya!!!!! Owo e da??!! Ani owo e da??!!

We are at a roadblock. One of the numerous arbitrary roadblocks which have been set up by rambunctious guys in the wake of the general chaos.

Each roadblock is really just a group of random people who have set up some obstructions across the road, and demand financial homage from motorists on the authority of their ad-hoc obstructions.

It’s considerably annoying because these people aren’t doing any actual work. They just throw some tyres and sticks with nails across the road, and demand money from the hapless motorists.

But then even the relatively legitimate roadblocks by verified law enforcement agents are equally arbitrary- both in their placement and in their financial implications, so it is difficult to be respectably annoyed at these guys.

Owo e da??!! Ani owo e da??!!

The rambunctious guys are banging against the body of the bus with their hands and with sticks, demanding money from the driver.

Ah ahn!! Emi ti fun yin ni owo now??!!!!

He says he had already paid them at a previous meeting.

The roadblock guy’s face relaxes. His hostile, confrontational countenance is assuaged as he appears to experience some recognition.

Ah, Omo igboro. Mo da oju e mo. Te ina lo.

Ah, Son of the streets. I recognise you. Fire on.

The driver accelerates, feeling victorious.

E wo, ko n se agbara!

You see, it’s not by might!

He is revelling in his triumph.

I myself am experiencing a little borrowed sip of his victory.

We are moving. We are moving closer to my destination.

Ah, this life is full of issues.

This post is one in a Series. A list of all of the posts in this Series can be accessed here.