EndSARS or End Protesters; The Nigeria Government Dilemma

The End Special Anti-Robbery Squad (EndSARS) or #EndSARS is a social movement in Nigeria that started on Twitter calling for banning of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigerian Police Force.

It is a call to end police oppression and brutality in Nigeria. The protests started as a social media campaign using the hashtag #ENDSARS to demand for Nigeria’s government to scrap and end the deployment of Nigeria Police Force Special Anti-Robbery Squad, popularly known as SARS.

As at 14th October 2020, the #ENDSARS hashtag had more than 40 million tweets.

The evidence of the brutality murder, theft, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, high-handedness, humiliation, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killings, and extortion against this unit of the Nigerian Police Force is everywhere for all to see but no one has been brought to book.

On Friday, 9th October 2020, the Inspector General of Police, IGP via a series of Twitter post said, “The Force will no longer tolerate any attack on its personnel or any member of the law enforcement community by any individual or group protesting under any guise.”

The IGP notes that protests by citizens remain a legitimate means for airing their concerns and views. It must, however, be carried out with all sense of responsibility and within the confines of the law.”

In a year, between March 2019 and February 2020, the police, particularly the ill-reputed SARS, have caused the untimely death of over 92 Nigerian souls – this is according to the Council on Foreign Relations (a non-profit US think tank). Some of the prominent reasons for the killings are “refusal to give a bribe, argument and accidental discharge’’.

Another report says over 1,000 Nigerians have lost their lives in the hands of this dread SARS in year 2020 alone.

However, it must be noted that this is now a movement, a movement that can never be killed, or cowed by any government machinery. ENDSARS is an idea that has come to stay, and would consume the nepotism and corruption in high places in Nigeria.

Marcus Cicero once remarked, “Freedom is participation in power.”

Don’t get it twisted, the power here is the people. The will of the people to do the right thing in the right manner, and according to laid down laws. You will agree that “freedom” without law is nothing at all, but anarchy.

Hence, a law should not be made to inflict suffering on people but to uplift them and empower them for productivity. Can this be said to be true of Nigeria?

Do we have law in Nigeria? Is Nigeria law for the upliftment of the people?

EndSARS have become a front burner lately, it has attracted international outcry especially with the intimidating bragadocio display of government towards the people. A number of protesters are now under arrest for their demand for a restructured and organized policing system.

EndSARS protest is one of the many protests Nigeria government would experience and must learn to live with until the insanity at corridor of power is checkmated and corrected.

Though some protesters have put up destructive display, such display should be condemned by all. However, it is not sufficient reason for any responsible government to harass, intimidate and arrest protesters.

A country like Nigeria must wake up now, the moment most Nigerians realised how critical this is for the future, the better for all. The future here is not just generation yet unborn but the future of Africa.

Read Also: Nigeria Police Scare Nigerians than Criminals – Femi Gbajabiamila

Over 13 million employable youths are unemployed in Nigeria, while this number is not anything serious of a threat to Nigeria government it may interest you to know that this number is more than some countries (Rwanda, Burundi, Benin) in Africa.

The fact is “the day Nigeria wakes up Africa will never be the same again.”

Obviously, a nation of unemployed youths being harassed, threatened and killed by SARS do not matter to Nigeria authorities until they take to the streets.

This move by protesters is a ”no retreat no surrender,” a welcome development that must serve as a basis for the agitation and yearning for a better restructured Nigeria.

The protesters must also know it’s not time to say Uhuru, until the clear agenda of the protest are met by the defiant authorities.

This systematic protest must not be the end, it must take cognizance of other burning issues like government profligacy, high cost of governance, discontinuation of bicameral legislature amongst others.

It is either Nigeria authorities harken to the voice of the people to put an end to SARS or choose to end protesters. The holy Bible says, “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” And some of us know what happened to those who fail to harken to the voice of God then.

On a concluding note, it’s pertinent for all who believe in one Nigeria and stand for the good of this country to see ENDSARS movement as a good idea devoid of personal interest or self-aggrandizing idea but for the good of the most populous black nation, Nigeria. A movement everyone should embrace to achieve that goal of sustainable development and growth to be called true “Giant of Africa.”

Bamidele writes from Lagos, Nigeria
P: 08076883324

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