For a minute on Sunday, October 11th, Nigerian youths believed the announcement by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, that the rogue police unit called SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad) has been disbanded.
Celebratory reactions went around on social media insinuating that the demands of the youths have finally been granted. But the jubilation only lasted for a minute as the protestors were again reminded not to trust a mere announcement by the IGP.
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As the IGP’s announcement rolled out, protesters who kept up demonstrations in front of the Police Headquarters in Abuja were continually being brutalised. Assault techniques ranging from tear-gassing, water spraying, and beating were being unleashed on peaceful protesters who dared stand up to the police.
In Ogbomoso, Oyo state, where the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, had gone to visit the paramount ruler of Ogbomoso over the killing of Jimoh Isiaq by the police, up to 3 people more peaceful protesters were reportedly killed by trigger-happy policemen attached with the Minister.
This was the moment Nigerian youths realised they would need a formal announcement and an Executive Order issued in a live broadcast from the president, Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). The agitation went on without any other distraction.
It was on Monday, 12th October that the mother of all protests organised by Nigerian youths was staged across several spots in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Imo, Ogbomoso, Ilorin, and Jos.
The president’s broadcast calling for calm was too late. Protesters already succeeded in blocking the very busy Lekki-Epe expressway from the toll gate and grinding traffic in commercial Lagos to a halt. Even pleas by the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu failed to calm the very angry youth he was addressing at the Lekki roadblock.
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The question now most pertinent on the mouth of every Nigerian youth and all who feel concerned about the issue of police brutality is: why should the police who are been demonstrated against continue to kill Nigerian youths? The situation appears too ironical to be believed but it is unfortunately true.
Up until the afternoon of 12th October, several reports of wounded protesters, and another who was killed by a stray bullet fired by the police rented the news.
Except there is something else which the Federal and State governments – alongside the police command and the enabling political class – are hiding from the people; the problem of incessant killings, harassment and police brutality being visited on Nigerians appear to be uncontrollable.
That even after the president’s broadcast on TV, live rounds were still being fired directly into the crowd by the police to disperse peaceful protesters is dumbfounding. That even after SARS has been disbanded, officers might be reposted to other branches of the Police Force, and this might continue their acts of indiscipline and brutality in those other units.
This is the point where there is uncertainty in the resolution of the #EndSARS campaign outcome. And this is why it is not yet Uhuru – the battle is not won yet. It is not yet time to celebrate the disbandment of the rogue police unit notoriously named SARS.
Featured Image Source: Daily Trust NG
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