The #EndSARS protests which almost rocked the foundation of the country in the past few weeks, may have opened a new chapter in the Nigeria political history and may have also raised a serious fundamental question on the conducts of every Nigerian, especially public office holders, both at the local, state and federal levels, going forward in the country. #EndSARS protesters though peaceful, may have thrown up unintended outcomes, especially on the economy and the harvest of deaths of innocent Nigerian youths at Lekki Tollgate especially, and across other parts of the country. Men and women in uniform across board also lost their lives unfortunately.
That government agreed wholly for the five demands put forward by the #EndSARS protesters, the Nigerian youths, not only legitimized the protests, but also justified a course that appeared everyone waited for. No thanks to the infiltration of the protests by streets urchins, often called hoodlums. Before the protests snowballed into violence at Lekki, in Lagos on that fateful Tuesday evening of October 20, 2020, occasioned by the mindless shooting on the hapless protesters, by the Nigerian military, the demands of the protesters were simple: disband SARS and try operatives of the outfit that committed heinous crimes against the Nigerian people, ranging from extrajudicial killings, extortions, rape to unlawful detention of innocent citizens across the states of the country, among other crimes, in court of competent jurisdiction.
Now that the dust is settling, given the relative peace pervading at the moment, 17 states, including Lagos, the epicenter of the protests have inaugurated judicial panels of inquiry to look into the atrocities of the defunct SARS, and make recommendations to government for immediate action. Members of the public too, in various states of the country, especially individuals or groups that had suffered untold hardship in the hands of the inglorious and disbanded SARS operatives recently and in the past, are also called upon, to come forward with petitions/complaints and submit to the committees. Commentaries that have been trending since the imbroglio, support the scrapping of SARS, and charge the government to WALK THE TALK by ensuring that all those men and women in uniform who soiled their hands with the blood of Nigerian youths, that are likely going to be exposed in the months to come, by the judicial panels, should give account of their deeds. And if found guilty, they should be punished adequately, according to the laws of the land.
This is not forgetting the death of young Nigerians such as: Linda Nkechi Igwetu, kazeem Tiyamiyu, Ifeoma Stella Abugu, Femi Bello, Tina Ezekwe, Kenneth Nkwo and many more, whose lives were cut short in broad day light, at different times across the country, in a most despicable manner, by those that are paid with tax payers money to protect Nigerian citizens. To further appease the masses also, especially the Nigerian youths, President Muhammadu Buhari is hereby called upon once again, while we await yet another presidential broadcast, to ensure that the soldiers and those who ordered them to shoot at the harmless protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, are not shielded by the Military Authority, rather, they should be exposed and tried publicly for crimes against humanity. That we are not ridiculed as a country before the international community, owing to the recent happenings in the country is an understatement.
The question however is whether we can salvage what is left in terms of image and prestige, now, considering the fact that we have frittered many opportunities away in the past. Hence, the cacophony of voices, still calling for a better Nigeria continues to trouble the minds of the people. We enjoin all Committee Chairmen of the Panels of Judicial Inquiry already constituted by various State Governors across the country, to consider this state/national appointment as yet another opportunity to salvage the battered image of the country, and also win the trust of the Nigerian people once again. States that have not instituted their Panels of Judicial of Inquiry are implored to do so, without further delay. We appeal that the Committee Members be given free hand, just as we urge the members to live above board and not compromise their positions for whatever reason.
This is the time to demonstrate that the national healing now on the lips of everyone is achievable. It then means that there is no better time than now, to assuage the concerns of Nigerian youths, the larger society, and atone for the mistakes of the past that led to the unfortunate loss of lives during the #EndSARS protests. We believe that justice will be served against those who tried the will of all Nigerians by killing innocent and unarmed citizens that they were supposed to protect. It is necessary to note that the independence of these Panels of Inquiry is very key, and the recommendations they make too, would go a long way to address the injustices of the past, and hopefully, give peace a chance in the country.