Over the years, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) an arm of the Nigerian Police had served a great deal in curbing crime related issues. At a time there was relatively a decline in the case of robbery incidence and a dramatic increase in the cases of obstruction (in some cases stoppage) of robbery operation that was and the perpetrators caught.
However, while the society in Nigeria looked forward to improvement in the SARS operation, there was a sudden drift. The squad became a tool in the hands of the rich and a terror to the poor and vulnerable. Families were arrested and dealt with, individuals were pickup and never returned home as they are either allegedly summarized or detained for a crime they know nothing about and no one cared to tell them.
Wondering how true this maybe? Then you need to listen to the fallouts from the panel of inquiries set up by our Nigerian government to address the request of the angry Nigerian youths who had turned to the streets to demand the of police brutality and SARS.
It all started like a joke. Nobody ever believed it. Nobody gave the youth’s protest any chance by the stretch of any imagination. No one is left in the sad tale of the dehumanized handling by the squad. The professionals had suffered humiliation, so has the artisans, the educated, and the illiterates are not left out and to think that even the children of some of the highly placed would have been lightly affected by the SARS brutality and rascality leaves so much wonder.
As the youths took to the streets, in the imaginations of many, the protest which was to register the youths’ grievances against police-SARS brutality tagged #EndSARS, would not go beyond the one or two-days ‘gara gara’ as was the case in Nigeria. Little did the government know that these youths were not just determined, they are focused to get results.
Peacefully they organized themselves, mostly in the lead were the educated, some are captains of industries, others are managers and entrepreneurs and the majority are undergraduates bored by the lockdown and the ASUU strikes. They got support from many quarters; they organized themselves in a more professional and civil manner-peacefully. They had one goal, common objectives regardless of their language and religion; they were united in the course. Indeed this is a dreaded movement.
But against all known predictions, these energetic youths shook the history predictors and stunned the entire world with their resilience and determination. Hours of protects grew to a full day and day passed into days and moved on into weeks and was counting.
The fearless and careless mighty, the government shivered in fear, their cluelessness in leadership showed up as the protest intensified. ‘These youths are determined and could bring us down’ they must have thought as they came up with a rather shrouded way of address public issues, to instill fear by trying to repel them. Don’t ask us how sure we are about this fact because their body language and the way they chose to react to the situation betrayed them.
Little did they know that when pushed to the wall, a harmless goat could become a daring lion. The ‘lazy’ Nigerian youths who they supposed are easy-going have had it to the neck and were ready to push their course till they get results.
Then came the 14th day of the protest, (19th October) when against all known expectation, the unexpected occurred! Indeed it was A BLACK TUESDAY. The Jackboots and trigger happy contingent of the Nigeria Army had mulled down the peaceful protesters at the LEKKI Toll Gate. Lights out, cameras off, and in a matter of seconds, the quiet protest turned bloody, some were in the pool of their blood. Deaths, tears, and sorrows! Who could have ordered this, who turned off the lights, who took off the CCTV cameras, who, who, and who! Questions begged for answers as the government toiled with facts and glaring truths in their response.
Oh! Nigeria mourned! The youths are mulled down for daring to demand a change that guarantees the future hopes, for pointing at the wrongs of the leaders, for drawing the attention of the authority that be to abuse of humanity, oh what a shame? Is this the democracy we were told is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Were we deceive and cowed by our leaders?
Oh! How can the youths that are the future be ignored and silenced in such an arrogant and heartless manner? Is this not the same youth that they employ to find their way to power? Could this be an eye-opener for the youth to cast their votes and throw their energy where their future lies than with who calls the shot and shares more money?
The FRUGAL Empowerment Foundation identifies with the aspirations of the Nigerian youths! We share the pains of the injured, we mourn for the departed (the fallen HEROS of our youth who lost their precious lives on that BLACK TUESDAY). We will continue to re-echo our collective demands until Nigeria becomes that home we all desire.
Cheer up my heroes, fight on our comrades, the future is now, our destiny is in our hands and we can only push and demand it until it becomes our reality.