A fast-rising skit comedian and actor, Mr Macaroni (whose real name is Debo Adedayo) may have been the most recent win against the Nigerian police. Mr Macaroni is not a stranger to fighting for human right causes as he was a student leader while in university.
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His most recent encounter was that of brutality meted out by a badly reputed police force, the whole point of the need to overhaul the policing system was rehashed.
On hearing the news that the Lagos state judicial panel of enquiry on police brutality has approved for renovation and reopening the tainted Lekki toll gate, some aggrieved Nigerians who have sworn never to let the memory of the #LekkiMassacre incident of 20th October to pass so easily vowed to stage another protest at the infamous Lekki toll gate.
And so as it was advertised, a handful of daring Nigerians began to gather at the Lekki scene on the 13th February, despite the show-of-force display of armed police units stationed at the toll gate on that day. Their sole directive was to resist any form of protest at the site.
It was only when a couple of the protestors had been arrested and thrown into a police Black Maria truck that the peaceful assembly was thrown into confusion. Mr Macaroni, who was shooting nearby at another of his numerous comedy skits, cited in a media release much later that he could no longer ignore as innocent Nigerians were being arrested for no just cause, decided to appear at the Lekki toll gate in solidarity.
It did not take long before Mr Macaroni himself was arrested and thrown into the Black Maria before they were taken to an undisclosed location.
When the matter of police brutality became a hot issue last year October, a number of celebrities from Nigeria such as Runtown and Peter of PSquare rose to the occasion. That it caught popularity amongst the masses so quickly was such that it almost developed into uncontrolled uprising was a testament that people had been waiting for an opportunity to express their bottled-up anger against misgovernance.
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Incidentally, one of the other prominent celebrities who rose to the occasion in the earliest days of the #EndSARS protest was Mr Macaroni.
The immediate trigger of the whole stretch of the #EndSARS protests started with a video that captured a member of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officer shooting a young motorist in Ughelli, in Delta state, and then proceeded to push his body out of the car as he drove off with the Lexus SUV of the young man he just killed.
Yet, the violent reaction of the youths in Ughelli to the incident did not get much national attention and momentum until a group of protesters started to gather at the Lagos State House of Assembly gate. As this group staged a sit out in front of the Lagos Assembly, others joined them in the sit-out from all around Lagos state.
Mr Macaroni was one of those who arrived at the Lagos Assembly gate starting from the night of October 7 after some police reportedly harassed other protestors, and held the fort until the Lagos Assembly at Alausa, Ikeja, became the temporal Centrepoint of the #EndSARS protests.
And recently, on 13th February, Debo and 39 other Nigerians were arrested for gathering at the Lekki toll gate. In the charges levelled against them at the magistrate court, no serious offence could be pinned on them except the spurious charge that they were gathered unlawfully and without face masks.
But Nigerians know full well that their only crime is their continued insistence of the end of a system that has instead criminalised God-given rights and normalised illegalities. The crime of Mr Macaroni and the 39 others was their fundamental right to be protesting as the constitution rightfully grants the people being revoked by feudalists masking as progressives.
And just like Mr Macaroni depicted after his bail on the beatings and abuse hand the 39 others suffered in the hands of the police within 24 hours, the charade at the Lekki toll gate was captured and streamed live to all audience watching everywhere in the world for a second time. Only that this time, the people were the winners because the point of police brutality was once again featured and broadcasted to the world as evidence – thanks to Mr Macaroni.
Featured Image Source: BBC
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