Ever since my parents and three brothers died in the gasoline explosion last month, my mind has been dead to the world. Please, God, let me leave this place. I have no hope for my country.
I see it in the glassy-eyed stares of the people on the street. We have nothing. We have been ruled by fat generals who promise elections but steal all the money from the people. The oil money, billions and billions of dollars, it disappears. Millions of us live here in the Lagos slums with no electricity or sewage system. I don’t want to smell the garbage rotting in the streets anymore.
No one is safe. The police chase people in the streets and beat them like dogs. This new general, Abubakar, he is no better than the rest before. President Babangida, he stole $12 billion from the Nigerian people. When people ask where the money goes, they are shot. They shoot people every Sunday on Victoria Beach. The bodies always wash up on the sand after they throw them in the ocean.
Last month, thieves broke the oil pipeline to steal fuel. Many people rushed out to scoop up the fuel that spilled out, to use, to sell. Then, everything was in flames. Seven hundred people died. I saw the tractor throwing the burned bodies into a hole in the ground. My family is somewhere in that hole.
The month before that, the soldiers threw my grandmother out a window. The soldiers, they set up roadblocks. They stop anybody trying to drive past, and they take all their money. I see people walking down the street in broad daylight who are attacked by criminals. Men with knives, sticks, broken bottles. They attack you and beat you down. The people sometimes chase a thief who steals a bag. The crowd chases him and throws him down and beats him to death. The streets are very bad. There is so much hatred.
If I could get just a little money, I could try to leave. But I must save my money for food. There is no good food to buy in the streets. There are no doctors. I am still young. I don’t want to get sick and starve. I don’t want to be killed by the police. Please, God, save me. Shango, Ogun, Ifa, protect me. I don’t want to die. I have to get out of here.