Crotone’s forward Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo has been left shocked and heartbroken after witnessing the killing and brutal handling of scores of peaceful protesters in Nigeria by the country’s security agencies.
Youths in several parts of the country had taken to the streets to call for police reforms and the scrapping of a police unit, SARS, that had gone rogue.
Simy, alongside Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, was one of the first Nigerian football stars to show his support for the #EndSARS protesters when he displayed a shirt with the inscription “EndPoliceBrutalityInNigeria” after scoring against Juventus last weekend.
But the non-violent protests took a bloody turn on Tuesday night when scores of protesters were killed as shooters believed to be officers of the Nigerian military opened fire on hundreds of youths keeping vigil at the Lekki tollgate. Many were also wounded.
A hurting John Ogu charged his colleagues in the Super Eagles to boycott upcoming international matches involving Nigeria after seeing visuals of the murderous attack.
In the same vein, Super Eagles striker Simy says the horrific incidence has sapped the joy and fun out of him, and he doesn’t see himself celebrating any goal he scores any time soon.
“Now, the way things are going, I can’t see the joy in scoring a goal, I can’t see the joy in celebrating,” the Crotone forward told ESPN.
“I put everything about the love, the fun on the back foot. But one thing is for sure, I will keep sweating, I will keep playing, I will keep scoring for the fallen heroes.
“But celebrating in a joyful manner will be hard for me. Everything I do now will be done for them because it is crazy how people who will march out peacefully will be shot like animals.
“Today, we saw how the Nigerian flag was bloodied. That is heartbreaking for me.”
The protests have since degenerated into chaos as irate youth, angered over the killings, embarked on massive destruction of national and state-owned assets across the country with Lagos the most hit.