By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir |
The #ENDSARS that has been trending online, along with its attendant protests, mostly in South-western states of Nigeria, has morphed from a simple civil protest, decrying police brutality; to a political movement with a grim and dim dimension, in which so many protesters are carrying placards and trending harshtags that are asking for an end to the PMB led Federal Government. Before now, there have been numerous cases of police brutality, molestation, extortion and extrajudicial killings by some ‘prodigal’ members of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, and that had necessitated the protests; calling on government to put an end to the excesses of the special unit by disbanding it totally. So many have lost their loved ones as victims of the misadventures of SARS and in all honesty, it is morally wrong to just sit back and watch those that are supposed to protect civilians from harm, become the ones visiting them with harm.
#ENDSARS was a noble idea and the effort of pushing it a notch further is justified, as the police authorities have been called upon to effect changes several times and each time that happens, no genuine change had ever taken place. #ENDSARS this time around meant business and it was out to put an end to SARS and all of its vices. You and I protested, and backed the struggle innocently, showing empathy to those that have fallen victim to the excesses of SARS. Like almost every other thing genuine, innocent and noble, the #ENDSARS protests have been abused, hijacked and bastardized; and are fast becoming tools for unrest, chaos, human liberties violations, and a back door to putting an end to a democratically elected government before it runs its course.
There are different categories and strokes to the #ENDSARS protesters. The first line are the patriotic, law abiding, enough is enough mantra protesters who truly want an end to the excesses, and seek redress or compensation for the families of those that have fallen to police brutalities. A few days of protests, worthwhile trending of the movement #ENDSARS, together with the corresponding positive responses from government, is enough for this first line, and we are content with the fact that the police and the Federal Government have gotten the message and are taking actual steps to bring about the much desired reforms. The 5 points demands of the protests were met, The President has addressed the situation in his speech, and is also addressing the matter with the right policies and adjustments; and so we are pleased that this time around, the FG has been as responsive as humanly possible.
Judicial panels of Inquiry have been set up to look into the misdeeds of the forces and punishment would be recommended where officers are found guilty. Already, over 37 officers have been sacked and will be facing further disciplinary actions. Trust funds are being set up for the compensation of the families of the victims of police extrajudicial killings. This category is content for now and has sat back to give government time to implement and build upon the new policies and reforms it is pursuing. As far as #ENDSARS is concerned, we are calling it a day; a very successful day.
There is the second category of idle, juvenile, naughty, and sometimes violent ilk, and to them, #ENDSARS means one huge party or road carnival and it is fun fun and party party. Food, drinks, music, shisha, cigarettes, and girls and boys are served in a huge protest buffet. #ENDSARS is a post corona outing that promises fresh air, and a medium to exhale for this group. Those are the ones vandalising vehicles and properties of others, blocking highways and access roads, and denying people their own rights to freedom of movement and livelihood. These are the ones that those incentives are ‘inspiring’ them and roping them into a jamboree that seeks to use a noble cause, for selfish and destructive agenda of civil unrest and national instability. These are the ones that do not have a care in the world and don’t care whatever happens. For all they care, 2020 should end with #ENDSARS protests all over the country, afterall, 2020 has been a bad year, laced with covid and nobody loved it.
The last group is an amalgamation of those i will term profiteers of #ENDSARS. We have the small dos’ who will trend and make some money online and be overnight heroes. We have some celebrities that would be compelled by some sense of indebtedness to their fans, and would have to come forward and also ‘show face’ in the protests, to chase clout. Under the profiteers group are the losers of 2015/19 elections and the #ENDSARS protest is a back door to some form of supreme victory over PMB and APC. We also have the ‘revolutionist wanna bees’ who are politicians but call themselves revolutionists; who also see their failed or botched attempts at causing mayhem and riots all over the country, being revived by the #ENDSARS protests. There are also global profiteers whose stock in trade is to see nations like Nigeria burn, so they and their overlords can lord over the carcass of a rich country – rich since they would have no responsibility of building anything other than milking the nation dry! Imagine the money in ammunition for a conflict in the most populous black nation? What of the oil money? Gold money? And many other mineral deposits? What of human spare parts for science, medicine and all sorts of ‘cloning adventures’?
#ENDSARS has ran its course, had the soccer punch, ‘Tyson Punch’ if you may and I am so proud of the results achieved from the protests that set out to correct an anomaly in our police force. But as it is now, its remains is becoming a lethal weapon for evil men who seek the destruction of our country for their self-centred gains. The pointer of the #ENDSARS moral compass has lost direction and is revolving chaotically without focus or ease. Politics has reared in, and so have religious and tribal sentiments. Parents, guardians and government must come together to rein in their wards who have been unwittingly drawn into a venture that has come to an end, but is still being used as a means to other catastrophic ends.
As if we are not grateful to the Almighty Lord – through no effort of ours – for saving us from the fangs of a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives worldwide. Superpowers have fallen into a recession but somehow we have survived it and we stand steady in the comity of nations. Election 2023 will be here soon enough and politicians, religious leaders, traditional leaders, youths, NGOs and civil servants will all have a field day in their ‘fisticuffs’ and ‘jamborees’ for a piece of poor motherland Nigeria. For now, we should let her rest till it’s party time!
–Tahir is Talban Bauchi.