By Belove Olocha
One of the #EndSARS protesters turned survivor, Patrick Ukala Ayibe, has said he regrets going out on October 20, 2020, to protest at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Speaking to Newsbreak in the aftermath of the first-year anniversary of the protest, Ayibe, who was shot on his right arm during the Lekki Toll Gate shooting, disclosed how his life has turned for the worst since the incident.
“My life is ruined. I regret going out for that protest. It didn’t yield anything good, I have ran into debt. I have a wife and kid and I can’t take care of them,” the 28-year-old from Cross River State told Newsbreak.
Ayibe revealed how he lost his job as a chef due to spending weeks in the hospital after the shooting. The effect of the injury has made it difficult for him to carry objects weighing over 10 kilograms unlike before.
He also expressed how the aftermath of the protest has taken a toll on his mental health.
“The trauma is affecting me. It’s affecting me psychologically, morally and financially. I’m living in debt. If I didn’t go out to protest, I would have been living my normal life and I regret it. Even with everything that happened, justice has not been served, none of us was compensated. I stayed out for 12 days protesting at the toll gate and at the end, I lost everything.
Ayibe, who moved from Cross River State to Lagos State in 2016, narrated his ordeal protesting on that fateful day of October 20, 2020, saying that the information about a curfew came to him and other protesters were at the tollgate.
He also disclosed that pieces of the bullet are still inside his arm as an X-ray result proved this.
He said: “When the army eventually opened fire, people were screaming ‘don’t run, wave your flag’. While I was waving the flag, the bullet hit my right forearm causing me to lose a lot of blood.
“I still have pieces of the bullet inside my arm. The doctor said the bullet didn’t hit my vein or any sensitive muscles and if they try to remove it, it might damage something.”
He also shared how difficult it has been getting another job, partly because he is an OND holder.
Ayibe, who was also present at the #EndSARS memorial last week, expressed his disgust at how operatives of the Nigeria Police Force arrested peaceful protesters and sprayed teargas at them.