Bloody #EndSARS Protest: Blame Governments, Not Youths

runtown leads #EndSARS Protest

By: Alphonssus Nweze
The #endSARS protest which for almost two weeks was peaceful suddenly became violent with  hoodlums hijacking it, leading to the destruction , looting, burning of public and private property as well as   breaking into Correctional Centres in some States, where inmates were set free.But the presidency  and our political leaders should be blamed for not only falling to manage the protest and use it for their interest to deepen democracy and connect with young Nigerians but for first introducing the elements of violence into the protest.The youths among other things had demanded  the disbandment of SARS, which the Inspector-General General of Police (IG), in media briefing last Sunday, October….2020 did.But the IG in scrapping SARS announced that SWAT, a more deadly unit in the Police will replace SARS. This infuriated the youths the more and they  demanded that SWAT should not be on the  card at all.Then the Government through security operatives made spirited efforts to break the protest as it lasted, apparently for fear of adding fresh demands of Buhari must go.Both in Abuja and Lagos  thugs believed to have been procured by the Police and Department of State Security (DSS), intermittently strives to counter the protesters. There was also attempt to introduce ethnic dimensions to the whole struggle when some of the  security operatives allegedly  brought hoodlums who burnt exotic cars  belonging to Igbo dealers. The Governors of the North  openly came out openly to declare that they want SARS in the North. Both the Governor of Plateau State, whose youths were actively involved in the protest and  that of Zamfara said that they need SARS in the North, all to introduce North and South dichotomy in the struggle.They were said to have sponsored Pro-SARS protest in some States in the North.But the same Northern youths they paid to stage counter protest have been searching for the Covid-19 pandemic palliative stores all over their States.The  Government’s plot to discredit the protest  came to head when on… Lekki plaza, men on Nigerian Army uniform believed to have been sent  and ordered by Presidency opened fire on these young Nigerians at a close range. Official figure is yet to be released but, sources said no fewer than 70 young Nigerians were sent to early graves. Up till neither the Army High Command nor the presidency has accepted responsibility for the shooting or unveiled the identity of the officer who gave the order for the shooting.It was reported that before the shooting at close range of the these innocent and defenseless Nigerians, the light was put off, the CCTV installed at the plaza was switched off among other measures to cover  up their heinous acts against humanity.This spontaneously triggered the reaction of the youths who burnt  investments of Ahmed Bola Tinubu, went for his life before he escaped to France. The Palace of the Oba of Lagos was also looted, touched and his staff of office taken away  by one of the protesting lads. Property belonging to Lagos State Governments such BRT buses, Courts in Ikeja among many others  public and private property were razed down. Pertinent to mention was  the breaking of Lagos State store measuring 600 by 600 feet, housing the Covid-19 palliatives, which was completely looted.There were jailbreaks, burning of Police Stations in several other States in the country especially Southern part of the country.Although there have been  pockets of hoodlums  who have started looting and burning Correctional Centres before the Lekki shooting, it was the shooting at Lekki that actually put fuel in the whole thing and triggered off the catastrophe witnessed later in the protest.Few points to note is the insensitivity, arrogance, indifferent and negligence exhibited by the presidency, the Governors and our political class. That is what   brought us to this mess. If there was no shooting, there would be no destruction of this dimension.Unfortunately, our president who the young people were demanding for him to address them eventually spoke, although belatedly , he failed to show empathy to the young Nigerians whose lives were lost in that carefully planned shooting at Lekki. Buhari also failed to extend sympathy to the parents of the youths mauled down at Lekki in cold blood and indeed entire Nigerians. He squandered the great opportunity to connect with the rest of Nigerian youths and by extension Nigerian People.But what is Covid-19 palliatives still doing  in different stores of State Governments  in October?  That  is a clear indication of gross insensitivity and wickedness on part of our governors and political class. Why keep these items in stores when most Nigerians are living in abject poverty and hunger and therefore angry.It is unfortunate that some elements in Yoruba land have been struggling to give what is even a Yoruba affair an ethnic coloration and blamed the plight of Tinubu and Oba of Lagos on Ndigbo. This exactly fit into Chinua Achebe’s assertion in his little nook, The Trouble with Nigeria that ” Nigerians of all other ethnic groups will probably achieve consensus on no other matter than their common resentment of the Igbo”.This  is what some elements wants to achieve. They want to tag the protest as an an Igbo  protest now because it has gone awry. This  amount to  giving a dog  bad name in order to hang it. This was what they did with the 1966 cuop by five young officers of Nigerian Army. They will fail in their lives latest enterprise.These Yorubas should locate their problems elsewhere not among Ndigbo. We know their intention is  to target the assets of Ndigbo but they will definitely fail.The protest should be a lesson to our leaders at all levels. Leadership is a serious responsibility.  The interrogation of our leaders have  started and there may be no going back . From now on  our youths who constitute about 60 percent of the population of the country and posses abundant raw energy  may continue to demand accountability from our leaders in a manner that may not be palatable to them.

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