Saturdays! That one word is a word that can bring both excitement and anxiety to a photographer. For a photographer that loves his job, Saturdays end up being the busiest of all days. It comes with a lot of beautiful moments to capture: weddings, birthdays or even beautiful events and sceneries that are not necessarily a product of organized orchestrations.
For me as a photographer, I am always excited any time I am presented with opportunities to use my photography skills to keep memories alive. Being a part of the preservation of such great moments and memories will always leave a smile on my face; I can’t explain why I feel such overwhelming excitement but….wait a minute! This post is not supposed to be about Saturdays. I need to get to the issue of today before I get too far into enjoying the digression.
This post is going to be focusing on a specific Saturday and the events that came with it; events I could not capture with a camera but which remain registered in my mind and might just be there for quite a while.
At the early hours Saturday, 6th of December 2014, I was returning from a venue where I had gone to do a stage setup. I didn’t drive there, so I had to wait at Nyanya bus stop to get a vehicle that would take me home from there. After waiting for a while and the vehicle was not forthcoming, I decided I should seize that opportunity and take snapshots of that scenery for my blog.
There I was at the Nyanya Bustop Innocently taking shot of great moment and scenery of the Area at that time and I was so happy doing it, but before I could say JACK ROBINSON, a man walked upto and the following conversation took place
Strange man: who are you mr man?
Me: Sir, I am a freelance photographer, just capturing great moment of the area.
Strange man: let me see the pictures, and can you identify yourself?
Me: Sir, I actually forgot my ID card at home, but I have some pictures on my tablet that’s shows my identity.
I was about to show him my pictures when another person shouted from a distance, OGA NA THEM THEY SNAP PICTURE GO SHOW BOKO-HARAM, SO THEM GO FIT KNOW WHERE TO BOMB (meaning: Sir, this are the people that use to snap picture for boko-haram , by doing that they know where to bomb at every particular time)
In one minute I was surrounded by different people of the park, they all have this fierce look on their faces, just staring at me,
They already have this hatred for anything or person’s that have connection with boko-haram, not even listening to what I have to say one of them gave me a Slap that throws me off balance, there and then it dawn on me that I was in a rough situation, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, They collected all my belongings, (Camera, Mobile phone, Ipad), I couldn’t call anyone, I was just there so helpless and all I was hearing in the background is “HE IS A BOKO HARAM MEMBER” “HE IS SNAPPING THIS PLACE TO GO AND SHOW BOKO-HARAM SO THEY WOULD COME AND BOMB HERE AGAIN” “WHAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL ABOUT THIS PLACE THAT YOU DECIDED TO SNAP”I wasn’t with my ID card to show my Identity due to rush hour to meet up with my appointment,
One of them came to me, precisely the person that slapped me earlier and the following conversation took place;
Strange man 2 : Which state are you from
Me: Lagos state.
Strange man 2: As you see me so, I have been to jail before because I snapped pictures like this, so you are also going to jail today.
To cut the long story short, the whole ranting lasted for close to an hour before two Army officers came to the rescue, they took me from the Angry mob, who are blood thirsty because I could see it in their faces
The ending of the whole story is that I was finally set free to go after much questioning that I answer fluently without hesitation.
My ordeal with this angry mob wasn’t funny at all, because it was after they set me free, that it dawn on me that I was actually FACE TO FACE with death, because in this our country Nigeria, some innocent souls have lost their live in situation like this, I don’t really want to start mentioning names but I feel I would mention that of the ALUU 4, The four innocent student of University of Port Harcourt lynched broad day like in Aluu community of River State in the year 2012, it was after they were killed that they now found out that they were four innocent student killed without even allowing them to speak out there mind.
The irony of the whole story now is that, this is 2years running they haven’t gotten justice yet, though their case is still in court, I still honor them with a minute silence, but what about those who have no one to fight for their course, I feel this is the time to speak out in our own little way to change our mentality towards situations like this.
We go to develop countries and we shoot great pictures of scenes and location we have visited, we are all so excited about this that we even flaunt it on our BBM as our Dp on your facebook wall, Instagram etc. showing it to how friends, why can’t we do the same to our Great country Nigeria?
Bringing out the beauty of our country should be our utmost priority because the image the outside world have about our country Nigeria are scenes of Guns, Bomb Blast, Dead bodies all round disaster, IF WE DON’T DO IT, WHO WOULD DO IT?
Lets us Market our country to the outside world, because looking at it vividly all we do for those developed countries without being paid is simply marketing, showing their good serene environment and relaxation spot, but does’ that mean they don’t have crisis in their country? (I would leave you to answer that question yourself) ….
I am here still hail and healthy but with pains on my cheek, but that is not stopping me from speaking out, LETS STOP EVERY FORM OF MOB ATTACK …. (HEAR HIS OWN SIDE OF THE STORY) #stopMOBattack, #hearHIMorHERout #MARKETyourCOUNTRY #marketNIGERIA #beautifulNIGERIA