“I know exactly where I was when the petrol tanker exploded in Lagos last week killing many.
I immediately took stock of my entire family to be sure everyone was home safe. I remember the relief I felt and guilt that came right after. I wasn’t entitled to that relief.
I remembered hundreds of people killed in Plateau state just days before and on and on I played similar tragedies in my mind. I was suddenly aware of my disconnect with the goings-on in the country and I felt numb, hard and cold.
This song came a few minutes after the Otedola Bridge accident was broadcast on social media and I basically asked God to peel off the many layers I had shielded in my heart so that I could go on and be normal in the middle of the chaos that has become home to all.
We’ve all learnt to turn away from what we see as harsh realities for others. We’ve done this to protect our sanity but it has only taken away our humanity. WE MOVE ON TOO QUICKLY.
This song is a wake up call to me first and foremost, a cry for healing; a call to repentance and to remembrance. This song gave me the courage to pull out images I had made on a personal assignment to the northeast two years ago.
I wanted to see for myself what was going on, so I spent time photographing different people affected by years of insurgency. I spoke with children, with wounded soldiers and families.
My desire to make sincere work that would bring help to those who desperately need it made me photograph these individuals with my heart open and raw. I wasn’t nearly as strong as I thought I was and with time I slowly turned away from looking at and sharing the work, I slowly turned away looking for alternative ways to get involved.
In the last week I opened up the folders again and allowed my self-see my own images. It felt like an apt representation of the song. As a nation, I sense a very strong pressing in for the future. We must contend for it but I believe that somehow, we must address this coldness and that there really cannot be a future unless in our hearts, we carry the weight of every Nigerian life.
We are a nation truly in need of healing and an awakening. To move forward like we should, we must not forget to look back and right the wrongs. Every one of us. Somehow”.
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