The early morning sky was cloudless and calm like the surface of the River Niger on a stormless night, nothing about the atmosphere hinted that the day was going to turn unusually hot in a few hours’ time.
The street was visibly empty as at the time we arrived, but in less than 30 minutes of our arrival, cars began to line both sides of the narrow road. Before one could say Jack Robinson, the old Road leading to the famous UTC shopping plaza in area 10 became a beehive of activities as trader after trader arrived in their different vehicles which had been turned into emergency retail stores.
Unable to access their various shops due to the lockdown caused by the Novel Coronavirus, majority of the traders who couldn’t tolerate staying away from their business anymore had converted their vehicles into makeshift shops, displaying goods, products and even offering services from the booth of their cars.
A Police truck filled with mobile police men parked vertically on the only road leading into the market, blocking every possible entry in a bid to enforce the lockdown.
By default, the lonely road housing both the Garki hospital, Garki secondary and primary schools slowly became another Yaba-Market, howbeit, in Abuja.
The increased population of people buying and selling was perfect for our mission, a mission to protest against rape and show solidarity with every victim who’s had to battle the emotional, physical and mental torture of sexual abuse and exploitation.
Just a few months back, the wife of one of Nigeria’s most celebrated musician came out with a rape story involving a top pastor in one of Abuja’s big churches. Even though the story stirred a lot of drama and generated a lot of condemnations, even resulting in a “me too movement” where other victims started coming out with their terrible experiences, nothing significant was actually achieved as no one was convicted nor any visible measures taken by the government of the day to protect women and uphold their rights.
As usual with the Nigerian society, the matter eventually died a natural death despite raising a lot of dust.
But just when everyone had almost forgotten about Busola Dakolo and her Rape incident, news filtered in of a young girl who was violently raped and murdered in cold blood by suspects yet to be apprehended in faraway Edo-State.
This spurred another nationwide outrage as Nigerians took to social media to vehemently condemn the act. Naturally, fear began to build up among the populace again. Fears of how protected our young women and children are.
Suffice to say, in the past one month, despite the lockdown and increase in the number of security personnel stationed across all states in the country, more cases of violent rape incidents are being reported almost on a weekly basis.
With this disturbing trend slowly endangering the lives of our women, girls and young ones, members of Staff of PlayTv (PROGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP AMONG YOUTH TELEVISION) Abuja and other young Professionals including Lawyers, Engineers, Doctors and Journalist resident in Abuja decided to embark on a Solidarity Campaign to protest against the Raping and exploitation of women, children or even men as the case may be.
Dressed in black t-shirts and denim trousers, we gently set up cameras to get the opinion of Nigerians on Rape and what could be done to reduce, if not totally eradicate the evil trend.
Although a few people were skeptical about talking on the subject matter, a good number of Nigerians did speak to us on their thoughts and concerns regarding the disturbing menace called Rape.
Each response was documented in video recording to be aired as a documentary on a date to be mentioned later.
Meanwhile, when the public saw our small group carrying placards with inscriptions such as:
#No means No, #Rape is Evil, #Justice for Uwa, What if she was your daughter” and others, some decided to join us in carrying the placards all in solidarity with victims and in condemnation of the dastard act.
From Area 10 in Garki to Model city Gate in Gwarimpa, the story was the same. Although Nigeria is a country of multi ethnic groups separated by religion, tribe and language, one thing always brings us together—the need to fight a common enemy that is threatening to tear apart the future of our women, girls and young children.
From Cab drivers, to KEke Napep Operators and even market women, the support shown was amazing, as each person stood undeterred, under the hot Abuja sun, bearing placards calling for an end to Rape cases across Nigeria.
Media houses and Television stations were not left out as top members of different media channels were present to lend a voice to the campaign as well as document for broadcast.
Of a truth, we may be a nation of multi ethnic groups, but when it comes to fighting for our survival, we will always be one indivisible entity.
May God put an end to this evil and help our leaders find an end to this issue…
God Bless the good people of Nigeria.