A fast-rising Nigerian rapper, journalist, and activist, Ebuka Onyeji, popularly known as ‘Stormz’, has explained why he immortalised the monumental EndSARS protests through his music.
Penultimate Wednesday, Nigerian youth in their hundreds took to the streets to memorialise October 20 for the first anniversary of the ENDSARS protests and the infamous Lekki shooting that occurred on that day exactly one year ago.
There were pictures, videos of the Lekki victims, and blood-stained Nigerian flags circulating on social networks in memory of what now appears to be a day in history.
Amid the frenzy, Stormz released the audio of “foreign Citizens”, a song, he described in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES as a “conscious reminder of the EndSARS events and the agony of surviving in Nigeria as a young person.”
Featuring Singer Grace Inwe and another rapper, PasQal Tambe, he said the track gave a detailed account of the events that happened during the protests and also shone a light on the twisting of facts by politicians afterward.
Two days after the EndSARS memorial on October 23, the visuals of ‘foreign citizens’ were released and it has been generating a buzz on social media.
Speaking, Stormz said he resolved to record the song after several ugly run-ins and shared experiences with the police, leading to the END SARS protests.
He recounted how he was attacked while covering the protests in 2020. Stormz, who covers health for PREMIUM TIMES, is one of the 12 journalists attacked during the October 2020 demonstrations.
On October 5, at least five police officers attacked Mr Onyeji (Stormz) while he was covering protests around the federal secretariat government buildings in Abuja.
Dissecting ‘Foreign Citizens’
The song began with a solemn baby-like voice and the mood was quite intense. Stormz took the first verse.
“…I will always remember October 26, the day Okey was shot in cold blood by the police…”
Asked to throw light on this line in his verse, the rapper said he was talking about his cousin that was accidentally shot dead on October 26, 2008, by a “trigger-happy police officer” in Onitsha, the commercial nerve center of Anambra state.
“The painful thing is that after he shot my cousin, the police officer who shot him was later released and transferred to another state. That is why we need to keep lending our voices to these issues. Nothing has really changed even after the EndSARS protests,” he lamented.
Mr Onyeji said he has resolved to continue making conscious music that would speak to societal ills and life in general.
While Singer Grace was the solemn voice on the hook of the song and the melodious verse, rapper PasQal took the third and last verse in the song.
Mr Tambe also shared the motivation for his verse on the song.
“I saw how the government thought it best to quell the protest with reckless abandon, instead of addressing the matters that were the reason for the protest, and that motivated me to jump on the track.
“Firstly, my verse and I believe the song, in general, seeks to spotlight the wrongs that were done to innocent unarmed protesters.
‘‘The brutality and killings. Again the message from the song simply is… fix the system; a system that makes living in Nigeria as a youth a dangerous venture on a daily basis, a system that provides very few (if any) opportunities for the youth and stifles their efforts.
“A system that deprives the average youth of everything that is naturally their birthright. Education, welfare, healthcare, employment, etc,” the rapper narrated.
On whether he is afraid the government will find his lyrics offensive, Mr Tambe, “I have two options: Be afraid, don’t speak up and watch my future being flushed down the toilet or Speak up, stand up (in the presence of fear) and hopefully my action will spark a conversation that might cause a change, even if very little to that system earlier talked about. I chose the latter and I believe this is the general reasoning behind the entire EndSARS movement; we were afraid but had to stand up and speak up. That is what courage is.”
Mr Tambe promised to continue using his art in spotlighting the unending social ills common Nigerians are facing.
Click the link to download audio: Foreign Citizens by Stormz ft PasQal and Grace –
Watch the visuals below:
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