I remember the year 2020 almost like it was yesterday. It was the year of the pandemic, the year I regained my voice by calling out the man who had assaulted me and it was the year that I began to firmly establish myself as a professional editor.
2020 also taught me other things. It taught me the essence of staying true to one’s beliefs on women’s self preservation especially as a feminist. It taught me too that more often than not, women’s death tend to be ignored by the very people who have energy to speak when a man or group of men so much as utter fear of harm.
For example, in 2020 during the months of June and July, there were countless reports of women being murdered and killed. There was the murder of Tina Ezekwe by a policeman. There was the murder and rape of Uwavera Omozuwa in a church. There was the murder of Barakat who was killed in Ibadan. There was the gang rape of a young girl in Zamfara by twelve different men. There was the rape of girls like Jennifer and Ada.
In September 2020, I clearly, too clearly remember that Ifeoma Abugu was murdered by SARS officials. And yet. It took men sharing their stories of assault before the ENDSARS protests began in October. I remember that when I and a few women shared our discomfort with women giving their all to a male centric fight, we were sent rape and death threats. Three years on, women who put their lives on the line and gave hard earned money to ENDSARS are still being insulted with the words “liar” and “thief”.
Over the past weeks, I have been reminded of the events of 2020 as I observe the lack of attention given to the murder of Augusta Osedion, a 21 year old model who was murdered by her boyfriend Benjamin Best Nnayereugo a.k.a Killaboi.
What makes her case interesting, is that her killer has literally confessed to the case and has still not been apprehended by law enforcement. Furthermore, there is the general lack of concern from the Nigerian public. Some have gone as far as slutshaming her and using her as a cautionary tale to other women on why girls who date rich men deserve whatever comes their way. This is as though women who date broke men don’t encounter death and violence too.
Augusta Osedion could have been any woman in Nigeria. Infact, her fate can very easily be the fate of young women in any part of the country. So where are the candlelight gatherings on her behalf? Where are the social media investigators who come alive to investigate the details of deaths only when men are involved?
Where are the statements from government officials informing the public that her matter would be attended to?
Where are the tollgates that have been rendered inefficient because a young girl called Augusta Osedion had her life snatched from her? Where is the coalition setup to launch a series of worldwide protests because Augusta Osedion was murdered? Where are the chefs who shall cook for protesters at those protests? Where are the digital artists who shall create art in honor of the fact that Augusta Osedion was cut off before her dreams could come fully into fruition?
Where are the mothers? Where are the prayer walks? Where is the funding for journalists to cover the stories at protests demanding justice for Augusta Osedion? Where are the businesses that shall shut down normal operations to focus on serving the protesters? Where are those who shall buy data for online protesters?
Most importantly, where is the anger and despair from Nigerians who should wake up checking their phones and Tiktoks for more updates on if justice for Augusta Osedion has been achieved?
Speaking with Tinuade, a fashion designer, she says that the reason there isn’t so much concern is because it is a woman involved.
In her words: “Oh, I know why. The mindset of most people is that hers is not the first nor will it be the last. So, it’s not a big deal, just one of those things.
However it is interesting to note that this thinking does not apply to men. When a man is being bullied to death by his fellow men, these same people see it as unusual and uncommon. To them, a man’s death definitely deserves an outcry and anger is very much needed. For them, men’s deaths are the ones that justice must be served. It’s sad but to most Nigerians, a woman’s life has no value.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of Nigeria’s leading feminists said: “Culture does not make people. People make culture. So if it is indeed true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture”.
If indeed women’s lives have no value to the average Nigerian, then it must be drilled into the social consciousness that women are deserving of respect and safety from violence.
Angel Nduka-Nwosu is a writer, journalist and editor. She moonlights occasionally as a podcaster on As Angel Was Sayin’. Catch her on all socials @asangelwassayin.