Accepted Paper:

Subtext of Colonialism in Nigeria, 2020: A Post-Mortem of the #EndSARS Lekki Toll Gate Massacre  
Samantha Iwowo (Bournemouth University)

Paper short abstract:

Northern Nigeria 1930s records a welcome parade for British colonial rulers, normalises domination and celebrates an ordinance the colonised must observe: "ensure the safety of their oppressors" (Davis). The #EndSARS massacre confirms colonial continuities in Nigeria, where the ordinance abides.

Paper long abstract:

A conquered people draped in rich flowing robes are on horsebacks, eagerly entertaining representatives of their colonial rulers – (re)assuring colonialism of its safety. This is the unintended subtext in this propagandist footage exaggerating the popularity of British colonial governmentality. The assurance of its safety was habitually demanded by oppressors of their colonised subjects: Clauses in 'treaties' forced upon African empires, the enforcement of English language as mode of communication, the police, military, and pseudo-Christianity - more examples exist.

In 'post-colonial' Nigeria, the colonial institutionalised extractors of this assurance of safety have been preserved by successive Nigerian governments allowing them to perpetuate their unfettered stealing. By October 2020, however, a frustrated Nigerian youth collective, under the aegis of the #EndSARS protests, organised peaceful protests across the country and in its diaspora, against police brutality and bad leadership; with complementary social media hashtags, it quickly gained global popularity. Fearing the delegitimization of the government, the Nigerian military forces soon fatally shot several unarmed protesters, drawing outrage.

This paper submits that the Nigerian apparatuses of control are colonial institutions whose operations require assurances of their "safety" from Nigerians, the breach of which is punished. Using (archival) footages, it argues that Nigeria's governments are mimic colonisers, who, in the nature of the mimicry that Homi Bhabha (2004) characterises as "grotesque" and having "partial presence", have become conveniently unrecognisable by their British model which now joins the world in its condemnation.

Tags: #EndSARS, #Sorosoke, colonialism, Nigerian military

Panel P27c
Colonial Film Archives: Interrogations and Intervention
  Session 1