October 20, 2021 marks exactly one year the entire country was brought to a stand still, following the demands of the Nigerian youths, among them to end police brutality, aka #EndSARS. The push for the end of SARS movement was the fundamental human rights of the youths, as enshrined in the constitution of the country and other international conventions which Nigeria is a signatory to. For two weeks, the protest lasted, the government of the day, led by president Muhammadu Buhari was shocked to the marrow, on how the Nigerian youths were able to organise and carry out such a well planned protest, applauded by everyone, even beyond the shores of the country. The protest unfortunately came to a halt when the group was infiltrated by the fifth columnist, obviously sponsored by agents of government, who wanted to look good before their pay masters.
The shooting at Lekki toll gate which up till today is being denied by government still remains a mystery, even as families that lost their loved ones and those that have bullets wounds appeared before the panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State government, to ascertain the culpability of the Nigerian military who were fingered in the shooting. Even with evidence, the military forces continued to deny that inglorious outing that have raised issues on the professionalism of our security personnel, whose duties it is to protect the citizens. Beyond the extra judicial killings of innocent Nigerians which the youths protested against, and called the president to address immediately, however, the protest received a boost when the president acknowledged the fact during his broadcast that, Nigerians have right to protest, even as he approved of scrapping the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), an arm of the police that is known for its notoriety throughout the country.
The irony is that these people go about harming innocent citizens they are supposed to protect. One year down the line, it thus appears that what led to the EndSARS protest one bit has not been addressed. The government instead of addressing issues raised in many instances have lied to Nigerians, despite that the commission of inquiry set up by the Lagos State government has paid several millions of naira in compensation to those that were maimed, brutalized or even killed extra-judicially. That the Nigerian youths also came out one year after the #EndSARS protest to commemorate the ugly incident that took place last year in different states, tells the Nigerian police and the government that the Nigerian people deserve better deal. A caring government would not sit back to see people suffer.
Wednesday’s October 20, 2021 peaceful protest at Lekki and around other cities across the country, despite the security challenge in the country also shows that the Nigerian youths are not miscreants but rather those that know what they want. The shooting at Lekki toll gate showed that it was carried out to discredit the youths who came out to change a few things the country is still battling with, till date. The demand for the reformation of the police force cannot be over emphasized because, else where police officers are respected unlike what we have here. The police should also be grateful that the youths are concerned about their welfare except a few of them who do not understand the signs of the time and would want the status quo to remain without any justifiable reason, except for eye service from the rank and file that has negatively impacted on the society. While we remember and commemorate the day, we also sympathise with families that lost their loved ones in the hands of those who were suppose to protect them. Our belief is that the government of the day, including the Nigerian police who also suffered great losses, both human and materially may have taken stock of what transpired one year after, understanding too, that the society is evolving, likewise those living in it.