We are moving towards that path.
I cried as I watched the Nigerian soldiers shoot at peaceful protesters in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. It was a gory scene and I was scared of the chaos it will create in the country. The shooting was a reminder of the Asaba and Calabar genocide that happened during the civil war. It was an indication of the political instability and insecurity in Nigeria.
Police brutality across the country provoked a nationwide protest; it was an opportunity for the Nigerian Youths to express their feelings against the poor treatment of the Anti-Robbery unit towards them. The EndSars protest was a crusade against the rough treatment of the Anti Robbery unit of the Nigerian Police Force towards the youths. Youths were victims of the killings, illegal extortion and harassment devised by the police officers of this unit; it is the prejudice of the officers that led to a nationwide campaign against their unlawful acts towards citizens.
Organizers of this protest demanded for the dissolution of the unit from the Nigeria Police Force. This petition came along with 5 demands which include the immediate release of arrested protesters, justice for the deceased victim of police brutality along with an appropriate compensation for their families, the setting up of an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of reports of Police misconduct, a psychological evaluation of disbanded officers and increase in police salary so they are compensated for protecting the life and property of citizens. It was a demand that required an urgent attention.
It began on October 8, 2020. Prior to this day awareness was raised on different social media platform, denouncing police brutality in Nigeria. The event that sparked the protest was the unlawful killing of a Youth by the Police Officers of Anti-Robbery Unit in Ughelli, Delta State. The trend of killing innocent youths, arresting youths in disguise of being an online fraudsters has being an activity of the Anti-Robbery Unit that is overlooked by the Nigeria Police Force. The EndSars protest became a revelation in 2020 despite its establishment in 2017. Police brutality has raised the question of trust over a public agent that should protect the lives and properties of people across the society.
EndSars started as a Twitter campaign in 2017 using the tag #End SARS to demand for the dissolution of the Anti Robbery Unit by government. The continuity of unlawful killings of youths, extortion and unlawful arrest of youths led to an aggravated yet peaceful approach to the protest across the country. It was a time that created an opportunity for people to speak against the unlawful arrest and inhumane attitude of the officers in the Anti-Robbery Unit of the Nigerian Police Force.
Few days later, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu announced that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad has been disbanded at the same time members of the unit have been withdrawn from the unit. The context of this announcement was followed by an unpleasant gesture and body language by the inspector. The story took a different twist when the Inspector general of police declared that the Special Anti Robbery Squad was changed to Special Weapon and Tactics. The idea was seen as an act of recycling within the unit, recruiting the officers of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police Force.
The decision of the Inspector General of Police led to a rise from police reform to bad governance across the country. A petition to stop police brutality became a central discourse towards pertinent issues neglected by the Federal Government of Nigeria. A peaceful movement also an organized protest yet the President failed to speak to Nigerians over the issues raised by the protesters.
The Nigerian Youths filled the hole left by prominent activist such as Gani Fawehinmi and Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The Soro Soke generation did not hide their feelings; a raw expression of speaking to power took another dimension in Nigeria. Hope was regenerated yet there were other parties that were employed to manipulate the plan for a better Nigeria; it was action awaiting execution yet we are not aware that it will come very soon. Citizens supported the youths; they were not excluded from the struggles yet the Leaders fail to acknowledge the importance of what we asking for as Nigerians.
A peaceful protest became an affair of hoodlums across the country. It began in Oshogbo when the convoy of the Governor was attacked by thugs along the state capital. The emergence of hoodlums raised a question, where is this coming from? It was not what the protesters had in mind yet we had no clue that the other party had their plans. We are not aware that an attacked is being plotted by the other party to stop a peaceful demonstration align towards building a better Nigeria.
A protest against police brutality became a political and social awareness in Nigeria. The protest captured a global attention yet the other party chooses to silence those who voted for them because what they are asking for is not what they can do.
The other party was against the demonstration because of what they will lose if the protesters emerge victorious in their fight for a better Nigeria. Hoodlums became the only option the other party can implore to disrupt a widely recognized protest. The destruction and demolition of facilities by hoodlum was a strategy that failed the other party; the youth were resilient and courageous yet men of the other party kept looting and destroying public properties as a strategy for disguise, tracing the incidence to the EndSars protest yet it failed because they did not get the support of the citizens.
The Jail break in Benin and destruction of police stations and barracks led to a nationwide curfew yet a day came in Lekki; a day when the other party struck at Lekki. Despite raising their flag as a sign of patriotism, the other party called for the men in green to disband protesters using guns and bullets. October 20 was a gory day in the history of Nigeria yet it was the day we knew the beast the other party had unveiled.
A curfew was imposed on this day by men of the other party; there were reports that the inspector general of police had called the anti-riot squad to disband the protester at Lekki Toll gate. At dawn the men we thought were police officer were actually the military officers interfering on what I interpret as an internal issue. Many lost their lives but the other party told its followers that there was no casualty. Few days later, it was revealed that many lives were lost after a live video of killings was shared on different social media platforms.
The other party told its people that it was a fake yet the international community had a proof that there was a massacre on this day. As a citizen I was disappointed with the men of the other party for lying to its people while the truth was obvious. It was an exposition of insincerity of our leaders towards its people.
The EndSars protest was a revelation to the citizens of Nigeria. It was an exposition into the monster we have embraced and supported for 21 years of our transition from military to the Federal System of Government. We have seen that men from the other party are not capable yet they want to rule over our affairs. Secret affairs were exposed, the body language of our leaders prove that they are selfish and unwilling to restructure Nigeria.
A country of 36 states and 774 local governments cannot continue to languish in economic and social deprivation. The protest was an awareness of the poor governance across the country yet men of the other party were not ashamed to admit to their failure neither are they ready to correct the mistakes and error.
Nigeria is moving towards the right direction as a state but the question of upholding the lessons remain a puzzle until 2023. The fight for better governance and end to police brutality will continue; people should be educated on governance and their expectation towards them to build a better Nigeria. I believe Nigerians are enlightened yet I ask, can we sustain the knowledge for 2023? We need new faces, a different system, new ideas and innovations.
Police brutality is the subject of discussion; it is an issue that has led to abuse of our rights and expression as citizens of Nigeria. We have lost many souls to the detriment this act has brought upon us, we have buried more people on the basis of physical harassment by the enforcement agent that should protect the lives and properties of the citizens.
Police Brutality has become a question we are yet to answer, a clue that Federal Government have chosen not to solve despite the press to stop Police brutality across the country. Authorities opt to threaten its citizens; it opts to arrest the protesters, freeze their account and oppress those who oppose them. Eromosele illegal detention and the unfair treatment created by the Federal government are proofs of a regime that is neither concerned about the life and properties of its citizen. The end against police brutality was beyond police brutality; it was a fight against a government who chose the Police as tool of oppression against the citizen. The struggle continues, Nigerians have chosen not to back down despite the effort of the government to turn its ears from the voice of its citizens.