Beyond the #EndSARS protest



Sanwo-Olu with protesters


As the #EndSARS brutality continues to gather momentum, there is suspicion that either the protests being held across the country are politically motivated or have a tacit support of some influential Nigerians who want to cash on the situation for their own political benefit. 


The proponents of this theory agree that government has already yielded to the protesters demand, scrapped the notorious police unit and replaced it with Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT).


Also, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced the dismissal of over 36 members of the disbanded SARS who were found guilty in the course of exercising their duties. Further to the IG’s directives, the dissolved SARS officers are to report to the Force headquarters and undergo psychological test to ascertain their mental fitness. Notwithstanding, this assurance from the IG and an apology tendered by Vice-president Yemi Osibanjo fell on deaf ears of Nigerian youths. The protest continued unabated and turned violent and affected the peace and harmony of the country. 


It seems the current ongoing protest goes beyond the SARS brutality. Any aggrieved party that took up our street protesting must have an objective for doing so. In 2012, the #Occupy Nigeria protest was borne out of the need for government to maintain fuel subsidy which it contemplated to remove. 
The protesters demanded that government should not abolish subsidy, but instead check the corruption bedeviling the subsidy regime. Although, some opposition politicians took part in the protest which raised question of its sincerity, it quickly ended when government agreed to probe the subsidy spending. I think the present protesters have already registered their displeasure or grievances to the government on the activities of defunct SARS which border on extra-judiciary killings, extortion and human right abuses. 


Interestingly, government has swiftly agreed to their request and bowed to pressure by dissolving the SARS. Now, there is no more SARS. Unless the protesters have ulterior motives, they should simply disperse and regroup if government’s new SWAT turns to birds of a feather with former SARS. 


Are the protesters doubting about the newly created SWAT that will replace SARS? Let them wait and see how it will debut. However, Nigerian youths should be commended. 


For the first time in the history of Nigeria, they have spoken in unison against impunity. The protest has lit the candle of social, economic and political emancipation across the country. It has sent strong warning to the ruling elite.
The youths are simply saying things will not continue to be like before. The protesters have denied Soware, the publisher of Sahara Reporters and advocate of “Revolution Now” any chance to address them. This is to avoid politicising the cause. The Nigerian youths should remain resolute and steadfast. They should not allow themselves to be manipulated by self-centered elite who are the architect of their current woes. 


 While the country is practicing democracy which rules out any possible brutal regime change, unless through periodic elections, the youths should form a political party to challenge the older generation. 
The country’s 60 years of independence and 20 years uninterrupted democracy have failed to transform it to el-dorado of sorts. 
The country’s economy favours few with the majority wallowing in abject poverty. The #EndSARS protest is a tipping point on the need for more revolution against insecurity and bad governance. 
Ibrahim Mustapha,Pambegua, Kaduna state 08169056963.

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