The 20th of October, 2020 will remain a traumatic day for many Nigerians who witnessed, live, the massacre of peaceful protestors at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos. The events of that day will remain equally traumatic for those who took vigil and watched the massacre via livestream to their mobile screens.
One month after this saddening unfortunate event, what has changed in the state of the nation with respect to the demands of the protestors?
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In some key units of the society such as traffic control and provision of security, policemen are yet to resume their duties, probably as a counter protest to #EndSARS demands to curb police brutality and excesses or even “attacks on them” by hoodlums.
While some have highlighted that truly, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police has ceased to exist. Others have noted that the rot in the system, which led to the #EndSARS protests itself, still festers.
It was more of an affront on the psyche of witnesses of the #LekkiMassacre that the government, the military and their paid hacks tried to change the narrative. They incessantly claimed that the unfortunate incident at Lekki Tollgate was a lie. The Nigerian Army even claimed that the video evidence which was live-streamed was ‘photoshopped’.
After the protests had died down, the Inspector General of Police has given policemen the order to protect themselves with the use of their weapons in case they are being attacked by the mob. There have also been a recent case where policemen or security attache of Very Important Personnel (VIP) shot at peaceful bystanders.
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Just in the past week, a member of the security escort team of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila reportedly shot into the crowd and unfortunately killed a newspaper vendor in Abuja. This supports the argument in some quarters that nothing much has changed in the Rules of Engagement adopted by military and paramilitary forces in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, at the judicial panel of Inquiry set up across states of the federation to investigate and adjudicate cases of abuse by members of the defunct SARS unit, the investigations are beginning to open SARS’ cans of worms.
Now that the Army has owned up, at the Lagos judicial panel of inquiry, to the fact that its men were truly at the Lekki toll gate on the evening of 20th October, all of the PR spins have been rendered useless. The next 5 months at the different judicial panels across the nation will determine if the victims – both dead or alive – of the SARS menace will get deserved justice. Or all of the efforts on the #EndSARS protests may just have been to nought.
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