Circa. September 2020, the first tremors of what was to become a major earthquake, shaking the entire landscape of the country—Nigeria—was taking effect for long had the youths in Nigeria been complacent about the cancerous and almost normalized scourge that is, police brutality, most especially the “Special anti-robbery wing” of the Nigerian police.
By way of millions of tweets, people from across the spectrum had lent their voices, bodies and monies to what began as a simple hash tag “#EndSars”. Major roads in both the county’s democratic and economic capitals were blocked in a bid to force the hand of the government into disbanding the notorious unit, it worked, on paper.
Showing little commitment to stamp out this menace on the part of the government, the youths continued and pressed on with their march, in their hopes were justice for all, a nation where the belief that all men are created equal entrenched in the psyche of every man, woman and child.
The protest had begun as noble, lauded by almost every notable personality that was not a tool in the Nigerian government, until the 20th October 2020, when military personnel were deployed to the Lekki Toll gate in a premeditated bid to silence protesters by way of a bloodbath, the troops opened fire wounding scores and killing multiple others. That is a claim both the Nigerian government and the military firmly denied, just as they had with the massacre of Shia Muslims in Kaduna but that is not the topic of this letter.
Violence ascribed to backlash of the said atrocity broke out in multiple cities across the country, multiple assets rumoured to belong to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu were ransacked, burnt or outright destroyed, though the peaceful protests had become hijacked with multiple groups proffering different interests. The little space in time when the youths irrespective of tribe, skin colour, religion or background spoke as one will go down in history as one of our country’s most defining moments of this millennium.
Moreover, since that time, the government has shown little or no zeal in addressing most of the demands tabled and probably underestimate this generation, the protests, if can be managed peacefully should return for it seems to be exactly what the government fears and respects at the same time. The youths had shown that this generation can, and will look past gender, tribe and religious based discriminations.
Indeed if I do say, the future is indeed bright for my dear country.
An adage says ‘once bitten, twice shy.’ This is exactly the way it is with the new wave of protest now. Just that it is now once beaten, never shy. Here are a few reasons why I think it is unnecessary.
Firstly, let me give you a recap of what led to this.
For about 3 years now, there have been several reports of police brutality, most especially from the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS). They have always been known to deviate from their roles of going after robbers to going after every young boy who looks rich. When asked, they will always say it was because they are into internet fraud popularly known as Yahoo.
This has been the norm for them for years, killing innocent souls, until they reached the climax this year, October precisely and a protest broke out. The Nigerian youths decided to unleash their grievances, pains, and bitterness by coming out in numbers to protest against this menace. Unfortunately, it ended in genocide.
Now, going on another protest again leads to the question why? To have a repeat of the previous experience? To what end?
Secondly, people are yet to recover from the loss of their family and friends that were killed during the massacre. To make the matter worse, there was no compensation or condolences from neither the state nor federal government. Therefore, going on another protest will be like opening a fresh wound again.
More so, it would be recalled that the last time this #End SARS protest happened, there were cases of hoodlums and street touts that took advantage of the situation to penetrate and caused havoc. His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, was said to use special tactful squads to fish out the bandits and hoodlums, but this was the opposite in Lagos State, as the governor, Jide Sanwo-Olu tweeted that, he is trying to put an end to the evil-doers, hence, the involvement of the military. The return of the protest will definitely pose danger on the lives of innocent citizens.
Furthermore, there will be a high rate of robbery and kidnapping. Now that there is a global breakdown due to the pandemic, and many people have been rendered jobless, there is a high probability that most people would want to get involved in any vices just to make ends meet, and this protest will be a perfect opportunity to carry out such an act.
In conclusion, people will be more exposed to the coronavirus. Now that there have been cases of the return of the deadly virus, there are high chances of the spread during an open protest like this. So, it makes no sense exposing people to the virus
Therefore, the end SARS re-protest is a no-no, to prevent recurrence of a massacre, reduce crime rate and prevent lives and property from pandemic.
What is your submission after reading from two sides of the coin?
End SARS protest return; is it necessary? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Bello Olabisi, known to most individuals as Dorian is a literature student. She’s a dark poet with a weird sense of humor, a spoken word artist, a nature photographer, a freelance writer, an active volunteer and a lover of stuffed toys.