The world witness arguably the biggest movement in the history of Nigeria in last couple of weeks. The #EndSARS movement started from twitter in the early October 2020, as the Nigerian youths demand an end to a Police Force Unit terrorizing the country’s ‘Leaders of tomorrow’ – Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Nigerian Police Force is no stranger to extra-judicial killings, whether through accidental discharge of bullets, stray bullets or checkpoint gun down of citizens. In 1992, A Nigerian Army named Colonel Rindam was killed at a checkpoint prompting the Nigerian army trying to retaliate the attack on one of their members. The Police were withdrawn from checkpoints causing increase in the crimes.
SARS was then formed as a unit within the Police Force as a result of the clash between the army and the Police. Initially comprises of 15-man team, SARS operated without uniforms, in the shadows without knowledge of the army while monitoring police radio chatters. After the ceasefire by the Army as a result of settlement, SARS was eventually officially commissioned in Lagos to combat crimes like armed Robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes.
It is hard to keep track of the number of youths SARS has unlawfully killed, detained, swindled, harassed and molested but an average Nigerian youth has had at least an experience with the deadly Police Force. They specifically target youths with expensive cars, iPhones, Apple laptops, Dreadlocks, Afros among others, threaten to kill them or put them in jail if they do not ‘settle’ them, many are even escorted to the ATM machines and forced to withdraw their life savings for their freedom. Any victim that refuse to ‘co-operate’, is likely to be beaten, molested and at worst, gunned down. The fun part? NO ONE WILL DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. They literarily kill people and get away with it.
The boiling Point
There have been outcry on the part of the public to disband the notorious unit, and in the past, government had announced the disbandment, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but SARS still manage to creep back into the lives of average Nigerians.
In the early October 2020, a video surfaced on the social media of a young Nigerian man being shot by a member of the SARS in front of the Wetland Hotel in Ughelli, Delta State. The #endSARS hashtag is reignited on twitter, this time got the attention and support of Nigerian influencers, celebrities and celebrities all around the world are throwing their weights behind the trend that later became a nationwide protest.
Felt threatened, the government, especially Lagos State, announced a curfew to keep the protesters at bay. What started as a peaceful protest soon became a bloody night on the 20th October, 2020, when the Nigerian Army was deployed to the site of the protest and were shooting the protesters leaving many injured and many losing their lives. As usual, the Nigerian Army dismissed the incident as “Fake news”, siting that, its members never fired a single bullet at protesters despite plethora of visual evidences, even live streams by one of the popular protesters.
The way forward
Lest the blood of innocent lives lost in the massacre being spill in vain, the Nigerian Youths needs to come with a proper game plan on how they have to take back their country from the current political class.
A Country United: First of all, the Nigerian youths need to be united in their quest, the political class have been using religion and tribalism to divide the country since inception. An average Northern man sees himself as a Northerner and a Muslim first before a Nigerian. In the south, a Yoruba/ an Igbo person sees himself/herself as Yoruba, Igbo respectively, before seeing himself/herself as a Nigerian. The ruling class know this and they use it whenever the election is underway. The youths have to be wise enough not to fall for that anymore.
Hold regular Meetings: This is an information technology age, Zoom, Google hangouts, Facebook live, Instagram live, Twitter live, all could be use to hold meetings among the youths on a way forward. 2023 is around the corner and the ruling class will soon start coming with sweet talks on how they are going to fix roads, electricity etc, youths need to get ahead of this and make sure strategies are discussed in the meeting on how to move the country forward.
Run for offices: According to Nairametrics, the Nigerian youths account for more than 64% of the entire 200 million people. This means that if youths nominate among each other to represent them at every level to run for the political office, and they vote for one another, they would win. It’s time to throw weights behind one another. It’s time to make Nigeria work again.
Govern with conscience: The primary problem with Nigerian politicians holding political offices is the lack of conscience. Palliative meant for the masses were found in Lagos and some other part of the country stored away by politicians when the citizens cannot eat 3-square meal. This is disheartening. Lest the youths become like the people they are trying to displace, they need to put love of self, love for money aside and help the country grow.
Nigeria’s call Obey
The current President of the country, Mohammadu Buhari, the former leaders of the country: Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Yakubu Gowon, among others led the country in their 20’s and 30’s. No Nigerian Youth is too young to run for office, it’s time to shun excuses and obey the call, put Nigeria first and forward.
“So Help Me God!”