HOW MANY IGBO BOYS HAVE WE SHOT THIS MONTH?
Can someone help me to translate this into as many Nigerian languages as possible, please?
Many of the boys I played soccer with in Ile Ife on bare rough grounds in-between houses, using oranges and rags tied together to form balls, all the way from infancy to age ten, were Igbo kids.
In 1965, they told me they were leaving, returning home.
“When are you coming back?”
“Papa says we are not coming back.”
We were all excited for them. It looked like an adventure to us. I wanted to go with them.
In 1970, some of the parents returned to Ile Ife, most of them without my friends.
“Where is Emeka?” I asked them.
“Where is Boniface?”
They were shedding tears.
Now, the state is killing Igbo boys again.
The Amnesty International has reported that hundreds of Igbo young men have been slaughtered on their ancestral land this year alone.
As an artist, I cannot fire a gun at anyone.
But I will fire a couple of paintings at them, as I weep.
How many Igbo boys have we killed this month?
Do you see the mother carrying her dead child in the painting?
It reminds me of Pieta. And it also reminds me of pictures from the Nigeria Civil War.
Can you help me to translate “How many Igbo boys have we killed this month?” into as many Nigerian languages as possible, perhaps the state would hear it?