#EndSARS Stirs Fresh Discordant Tunes

#EndSARS Stirs Fresh Discordant Tunes

With the long-drawn #ENDSARS which has raised flaks of all kinds amid applause from certain others, it has been a mixed grill of different reactions with a tinge of political colouration of sorts, SAMAILA ISHAKU attempts to capture some of the issues raised.

Immediate reactions on the calls by the youths for an end to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, a unit of the Nigeria Police, came from the Federal Government, FG, in which the government accepted responsibility for some of the lapses being bandied by the protesters. In his twitter handle, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo appealed to Nigerians and particularly the protesting youths, saying the government could have moved faster and expressed apologies.

He promised that a judicial panel would be established to serve justice to officers who have erred against Nigerians and the law in all states across the country. He expressed condolences to families of victims of police brutality and promised succor as is possible.

In his own subtle remarks, the former Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 presidential elections emphasized that the youths were not lazy, contrary to insinuations in some quarters. He twitted: “Our youths are not lazy; they are resourceful and breaking new grounds. I can’t be more proud of them…”. Further, he stressed that the youths mean well and deserved to be heard.  He, however, did not state the way forward apart from the need to hear out the youths.

In the northern part of the country, the reactions from some leaders were somehow distinct and a variation from the youths’ agitation.

Governor Simon Bako Lalong, the Plateau State governor who doubles as the Chairman Northern Governors’ Forum, said the North was averse to scrapping FSARS and that it was inexpedient disbanding the unit. He, however, fell short of making reference to the plethora of allegations against the FSARS officials.

Similarly, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State expressed confidence in FSARS, saying they had served the state meritoriously. He followed same with a plea to the Federal Government to redeploy the disbanded FSARS operatives to the state to help in the fight against terrorism. It is not yet explicit if the government would accede to this demand.  

Even the clergy was not left out in the reactions as pastor of the Dunamis Church, Nigeria expressed his disaffection on the events in the country. He blamed such issues as nepotism, tribalism, and unequal sharing of the nation’s wealth as the remote cause of the crisis at hand. He called for a proper scrutiny of the situation and a lasting solution sought. He was reported as urging the youths to carry out their legitimate agitations with caution so as not to overreach themselves in the process.

In a similar vein, the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) in the 2019 governorship election in Ogun State, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, threw his support behind the teeming Nigerian youths calling for the end of police brutality in the country.

Akinlade also called on the government at all levels to address the requests of the youths as early as possible.

In a statement on Saturday, the former House of Representatives member posited that Nigerian youths are justified in their peaceful demands against the defunct FSARS officers, “who have little or no regard for human lives and civil rights”.

According to him, youths are now awaking to their responsibilities by demanding improvement in the socio-economic and political situation of Nigeria.

“This is scary and impressive at the same time because Nigerian youths are beginning to take a position about their lives and Nation’’, he stated.    On a different note, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State reacted to the position of the Federal Government which urged the states to take over the tactical commands of the police at the state levels.

He did not express concerns that the position of the federal government was at variance with reality as the governors employ nor have capacity to discipline erring policemen. In his twitter handle, he said that prompting from the FG has no basis in reality and is not implementable, given the current status of the states and their relationship with the police which has federal control.

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