“Definition of life is having a nation where the child of nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody, and I tell you we don’t have that country.” Are the words spoken by Aisha Yesufu, a Nigerian socio-political activist and the convener of the bring back our girls’ movement.
The cry of the people is seen from the injustice they have suffered from the people placed to protect them and this outcry has led to the revolutionary protest with the name #EndSars. The protest has quickly gained recognition as people all over the world are seen backing the protest through their social media pages calling for an end to the injustice.
When did #EndSars Really Start?
We’ve seen the impact of the unity of the people in the peaceful protests being carried out showing there’s definitely power in the oneness of the citizens and this has prompted many to ask the question why wait till now? The #EndSars protest would forever be remembered to have occurred in 2020 but was that really the start of it? The hashtag #EndSars, which started as a result of the brutality suffered by the citizens in the hands of the police special unit (Special Anti-robbery squad) which included: extortion, robbery, sexual harassment, rape, invasion of privacy and unlawful killing of the citizens, was seen to have been used in 2017 by activists.
The Police Brutality
Several testimonies are seen to have been said against the police special force on their bullying of the citizens and how they have thrown stones of sorrows and tears into many families, how they have driven many to commit suicide after leaving them with naught. Amnesty international was said to have recorded 82 cases of the police brutalities over the past three years and the stories told by the people could not but bring tears to my eyes.
The brutality suffered by Nigerians over the past three years led to the birth of the revolutionary protest where they raised their voice to say enough is enough. The brutality suffered over these years could be termed lack of concern for the citizens.
The acts of the police special forces could be likened to the act of terrorism on the lives of the Nigerian citizens and the vices carried out included the use of force to check citizen’s-which were mostly the youths- phone, extortion by leading them to an automated teller machine to rob them of cash, coercion into signing false police reports and instant killings.
The law seems to be haunting down its people and just where is the right to a fair and public hearing in the section 36(1) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution and the right to the privacy of citizens in the section 37 of the Nigerian constitution. The police have been operating with brutal force against unharmed citizens which led to the birth of the protest #EndSars.
The Lekki Massacre
Known to be one of the most controversial occurrences of the year, its one most Nigerians would dare not forget. Termed as a bloody killing of the citizens involved in a peaceful protest at the Lekki toll gate. The incident has been denied by the Nigerian force and the governor of Lagos state, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu reported the death of just one person thereby waving off the idea of a massacre.
Reports has it that prior to the night of the shooting the CCTVs and Lights were removed. The governor denied removing the CCTVs instead claimed he had removed the plate number scanners. Well that has raised some questions in everyone’s hearts as to why a governor who just declared curfew decides to remove the tool which would be handy in arresting defaulters and as to why the soldiers had to wait until night when the lights had been removed before dispersing the protesters. Well, maybe we’ve been asking the wrong questions as the Force are yet to accept, they committed the crime of killing the citizens.
It would be remembered as a night where Nigeria murdered her own citizens in cold blood. Although news is flying around concerning the number of deaths, the actual number is not known and the amnesty international states at least 12 were killed. The IG live recorded by DJ switch who was present at Lekki toll gate and an active protester said they had counted 15 people who had died, we don’t know for sure how many had died but we pray for the soul of those who have died in the cause of the emergence of change to rest in perfect peace.
The President’s Speech
Although far from what many had expected, the President however did speak after a long while of silence and many had concluded the president isn’t working in their best interest after failing to address some of the issues which were expected to be addressed with the Lekki Massacre as first on the list.
The president addressed some issues which include the disbanding of SARS, protesters having the right to peaceful protest, stopping of protesters for negotiation, sympathizing with police officers who died and thanking leaders for restraining violence. The president’s speech sent a gentle shockwave to the hearts of many as to where all the protest would really lead to, the special operative has been disbanded four times and new units has been formed, and yet the bad habits of bullying the citizens persist, and so the citizens would need more than lip service and an actual reform or a complete dissolution.
The stands of the youth towards the nation is an act of bravery and dignity wanting a country that stands uprightly and takes their citizens request to heart, and with the latest events and the president’s speech it makes everyone wonder is this the end?