#ENDSARS: Nigerian Government should beware of the elastic point

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Despite the dismandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 States of the Federation, protest which began mainly on the hashtag of #ENDSARS has not ceased. It is apparent that the insensitivity to violation of human rights which have been left to linger is now adding in a compendium with other factors to burst into an uncontrollable face off with the Government. The Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, following the heat on the polity by #ENDSARS protests with physical movements across the Country and beyond,   had   announced the dissolution of SARS Sunday afternoon.

According to the IGP, men of the Operation will be redeployed to other formations and commands within the Police Force. The IGP who made the announcement in a live broadcast on Sunday afternoon had said: “The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force otherwise known as SARS is hereby dissolved in all the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory.” A follow-up statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP, Frank Mba, titled, ‘IGP Dissolves The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)’ had  read: “In the finest spirit of democratic, citizen-centred and community policing, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has today, 11th October, 2020, dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed. The IGP, while noting that the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, observes that by this dissolution, all officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect The IGP notes that the Force is not oblivious of the ever present need to combat armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country which was before now the core mandate of the erstwhile Squad. He assures that a new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps the dissolution of SARS would cause has been evolved and shall be announced in due course.Meanwhile, as part of measures to prevent a re-occurrence of events that gave rise to the dissolution of SARS, a Citizens’ and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum is being formed to regularly interface with Police leadership at all levels.”

The brewing storm is now giving breath to the fact that the Government is far less enjoying the luxury of insensitivity to national matters of concern. The mounting pressure from the protest which has taken a movement dimension, is clear indication that the Government cannot continue on the lane of gross impotence and insensitivity. The gross rejection of all pleas from all angles are apparently indicating that Nigerians have been pushed beyond the elastic limit. The refusal to end the protest despite the dissolution of SARS and the new dimensional outlook that the movement is assuming are clearly results of the compendium of social problems which the Government have handled with gross insensitivity over time.

In Lagos on Monday, the protest had assumed more bellicose dimension, with the killing of a Policeman Inspector identified as Erinfolami Ayodeji and infliction of injuries on two other Police officers, following the killing of a 55-year-old man hit by a stray bullet in Surulere while in his car, from an unidentified source believed to be from Police operatives. Protesters with songs of solidarity and placards on Monday barricaded the entrances of the Murtala Muhammed Airport and the National Stadium, Surulere, in continuation  of the physical demonstration which commenced last week.

Following call from irate youths for a national broadcast, President,   Muhammadu Buhari on Monday was constrained to release a short video uploaded on his Twitter handle which lasted for about two minutes, where he said: “I will like to use this opportunity to say a word on the recent genuine concerns and agitations by Nigerians about the excessive use of force and in some cases extra-judicial killings and wrongful conduct of the men of the Nigerian Police Force. The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people. We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice. We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations. I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated. Meanwhile,  it is important to recognise that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties . The few bad eggs should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force.”

It is essentially clear and indicative that there are more to the grievances of the protesting Nigerians than the #ENDSARS campaign. The lingering and sustenance of demonstrations, despite the dissolution of  SARS is clear enough a signal of warning that a looming revolution stands the corner should the Government not wave into drastic action to address the acute harshness of living conditions in the Country. The impetus driving the ongoing protest is frantically and emphatically a compendium of forces, drawing breath from mirage of clustering challenges, rendering meaningful life useless in the Country. To avoid a revolution and uncontrollable movement against the prevailing order, here is a warning call for the Government to swing into rational courses of action to address the force of unwarranted suofferings in the Country.  If the Government is privileged to stem down the tide of the mounting pressure luckily early, the need to draw and steer the cartwheel for speedy socio-economic change in the shortest possible time is indispensable, to avert a cloud of unwanted but looming violent change.