“A day we will never forget?”
It’s October 20, 2020. A day when Nigerian youth, having spent days protesting police brutality were shot at.
The protest could not have stopped because the brutality, the interference with fundamental human rights did not stop even while Nigerian youth went out en masse to protest against it. Some youths are just being released after spending months in police custody.
The #EndSARS protest spread across Nigeria, and youths from Northern Nigeria were joining from their states. The internet was the medium to the global community. Leaders, celebrities, civic groups, activists wondered why the Nigerian police had a reputation for killing the youth citizens and joined the fight in their own way.
It became a global conversation and probably birthed other groups and movements.
October 20, 2020, is the date, and a remembrance ceremony may happen every year until maybe whenever the Police Force is really reformed. There’s more.
#EndSARS expanded its frontiers. The story graduated from Police brutality to bad governance.
Nigerian youth used the platform #EndSARS had created to ask for responsible leadership. There were droplets of #BuhariResign groups (which was ignored), but #EndBadGoveranceInNigeria was the umbrella.
The aim was to ensure that we do not finally get police reforms and anti-trigger happy policemen, who triple as kidnappers, and killers, and still have to deal with bad leadership. Besides, the same leaders are the ones who use the Police against citizens.
The #EndSARS movement saw the need for Police to stop profiling young Nigerians. It saw the need for increased pay to be included in the reforms. It pushed for proper training of policemen before they’re pushed to the streets to protect lives and property. The focus was the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), and spread.
There are stories of the anti-cultism squad, and Intelligence unit, led by now-suspended DCP Abba Kyari, leading indiscriminate harassment, kidnapping, and sometimes the death of citizens they should be protecting.
#EndSARS made Nigerian youth realise that the continual care less attitude towards politics and governance will not help the country. This is why there was a call to sponsor a young Nigerian, who has a vision, to become president.
Indeed, that part of the story is literally dead now. Ethnic differences, resurrection of past events, etc, has taken us back to considering the older generation to lead the country after President Muhammadu Buhari steps down. Also, the story stayed on social media, so the ‘streers’ had no idea there’s a potential vacancy for a young Nigerian to become president.
Besides, how many Nigerian youth have made it totally necessary to get a PVC to vote in 2023?Concerned Nigerian
We are back to the former alignment measures where youth weigh one option over the another, choose the perceived lesser evil and cry over spilt milk for the next four years.
Besides politics and the governance conversation, #EndSARS as an experience made Nigerian youth realise that they have a part to play in the polity.
#EndSARS was supposed to be the catalyst for real change, and there’s no recent record of any protest, except #OccupyNigeria, that shook the nation as much.
Omoleye Omoruyi… an apprentice web/game developer, novelist, sensitive to happenings in the world. Meet him @Lord_rickie on Twitter/Instagram