The Documentary Podcast
Searching for Wisdom in Lagos
Thursday, 31 December
A young woman is desperately searching for her brother in Lagos. On the night of 20th October, Nigerian soldiers opened fire at a peaceful demonstration camped at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos. The government say they fired into the air, but witnesses insist that unarmed protesters came under deliberate attack. Amnesty International says that 12 people died.
The incident has traumatised a highly popular political reform movement that began as a demand to close down the S.A.R.S., a notoriously corrupt and brutal police squad. In the aftermath, many of the movement’s young supporters are keeping a low profile. Some have had their bank accounts frozen and passports seized. Others have even fled overseas, in fear of their lives.
The BBC’s Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones has been talking to some of them, including a witness to the Lekki shooting, and Peace, who is tirelessly searching for her brother, Wisdom, who is still missing after attending the demonstration. Mayeni finds a country whose traditionally deferential society and elderly leadership seem suddenly vulnerable; shaken by a perfect storm of youthful idealism, social media activism, and the crippling economic fallout of the Covid pandemic.
Producers: Naomi Scherbel-Ball & Michael Gallagher
With additional research by Jonelle Awomoyi
Editor: Bridget Harney