Nigerians who have been victims of the violence meted by Nigerians during the reprisal attacks in Lagos, Abuja, Uyo and other locations across the country have begun speaking out.
“It was a sad experience. It was really bad!”, said Daniel Ojima, Head of Finance and Administration, Lona Media. The media company operated by a board of five directors who hail from Kogi state, Nigeria, own some of the billboards along the Airport Road, Lagos. Some of these boards were set ablaze by angry Nigerians who stooped to looting as a ‘response’ to the violence against Nigerians brutally attacked by South Africans in the country.
Ojima complained bitterly about the destruction of the billboard that happened to have a MTN advert across it when the raging mob. MTN Nigeria, Shoprite, PEP, DSTV and other companies with South African origins have become victims of vitriol from incensed Nigerians who went on a rampage from Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Ojima explained the extent of the damage.
Lona Media’s mini-office that was located near the billboard was also ransacked. Office equipment were destroyed and stolen. “They (angry Nigerians) went into the place and carted away with the electrical items. Things were destroyed too.” Officials from the company had to quench the fire that had engulfed the set board. “Between 8 to 10 million” will be required for repairs and replacement of advert materials”, was Ojima’s response when he was asked what would be needed to repair the damage.
Ayodele Bankole, a social media user expressed his rage at the destruction that Nigerians pointed towards their own: “Look at the extent of damage and looting inflicted on Surulere mall by some senseless Nigerians. I am ashamed of these animals. Two wrongs can NEVER make a right. When we destroy properties belonging to fellow Nigerians, we aggravate an already worse situation.”
Layo Aburafin, the Group Head of Sales at A-Media, a media company located in Lagos, felt the brunt of the rampage in the nation’s capital when the company’s Breach Panel (structures on the bridge that allow for advertisements to be displayed to passengers in moving cars) in Abuja were destroyed as well. “We are a fully Nigerian Company in Lagos!”, he pointed out. He, like hundreds of affected Nigerians, still cannot fathom why their country men turned against their own. “The materials were torn, all four faces were torn!,” he emphasized. “The property is mine, MTN is just renting the space to display their campaign so destroying my property, of course will affect me. Because I will now have to spend money to restore the board. So economically, I will have to bring out money to repair all of this.”
In spite of the outcry by Nigerians, many are still simmering and appear to want their pound of flesh: political parties have requested for the nationalisation of foreign companies, Nigerians are resorting to public displays of anger – destroying their SIM cards and decoder and, there are many who are still waiting for the wrong time to strike and loot. When will it end?