#EndSARS: Time To Sheath The Sword

#EndSARS: Time To Sheath The Sword

In what took the nation by storm, Nigerian youths were spontaneous in their reaction in long-drawn protests across parts of the country against what they termed the brutality and the deadly zest of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigerian police.

Initially, it was assumed the protest which started like a little spark, soon spread like wildfire through many cities across the nation. As expected many youths embraced the movement and put forward a five number demands, the immediate which was the call for the abrogation of the now disbanded FSARS.

Even as the FSARS was decisively dislodged by the authorities, it was soon replaced by the Special Weapons and Tactical .., a move that was considered too hasty by the protesters. This was soon to open fresh concerns among protesters who further added to their initial few demands. The broadened list of concerns by the young people, who dominated the protest, included supposed issues related to governance and then followed with calls for sweeping reforms in various aspects of the nation’s life.

Although the government and the Police high command have seized every medium of their choice and convenience to convey the various moves already taken to meet the demands of the youths, they hardly could assuage the youths who assumed that the measures fell below their expectations, hence continued to galvanise support for the demands across the nation and beyond.

Indeed, celebrities and many influential Nigerians empathised with the youths and were seen taking active spots in the ‘struggle’ which was dubbed largely as peaceful. However, that tranquil and presumed peace was shattered when men believed to be soldiers stormed one of the protest locations, the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, where scores of protesters were said to have been killed or maimed.  This bloody and lethal incursion by these men became a watershed in the protests.

While the saga embroiled, controversies have continued to dog the action of the trigger-happy men who shot at protesters despite their seeming unarmed and haplessness. The military has absolved itself from such acts, even as the relevant authorities have maintained an apparent undignified silence. Even when the authorities had cause to mention the protest, they deliberately avoided the deaths that were visited on protesters in Lagos. That tendency to AljazirahNigeria is uninspiring and lacking empathy and moral fibre expected of exemplary leadership.

We commiserate with families who have been bereaved by the unwarranted attacks on the youths. While we share in their grieves, we believe that their deaths would not be in vain as we urge that it should engender the radical changes anticipated by the protesting youths, only then can their deaths inspire a memorial in their honour.

We call for a thorough investigation into the circumstances of these killings by the authorities beyond the often touted rhetoric: “We are on top of the situation, we will get to the root of the matter” which has over the years been the formal responses to such situations.

AljazirahNigeria salutes the courage of the youths who sustained the protests which resonated even beyond our shores, as seen in responses from Europe and the United States of America, among others. The protests which took on a global appeal are no doubt a new dawn in Nigeria since it has further amplified the unyielding spirit of the youths who are the nation’s future. They deserve to be celebrated despite the conflicting purpose of the hoodlums’ involvement of the protests whose aims were entirely debasing.

It is on a commendable note that we appreciate the youth’s enviable exploits which has served as a pointer that the people’s power transcends any other as we urge the youths to effectively shut down their camps for now and see how far the promised reforms would be achieved by the authorities. Let us accommodate rooms for agitations for another day, instead of dissipating all energies now.

We call on the government to take seriously its promises of reforms to the people.

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