Last week, a ‘big bang’ rocked the entire country, as out of nowhere came a hoard of young Nigerian heroes, ready to face an oppressive system we have long been silent about.
With the killing of an innocent young Nigerian by members of the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) in the small town of Ughili Delta, Nigerians seemed to snap and immediately resolved to take action. Since then, the #EndSARS protests that ensued has also gotten the attention of the whole world.
With such a powerful movement comes to question some of the measures that should have been put in place to avoid this level of outrage and the institutions which are accountable to the very actions that have eventually brought this magnitude of civil unrest to the country.
Today, the protesters having carefully thought of getting their message directly to the intended recipient, which is the government, storming the compound of the Ministry of Justice chanting ‘Shame!’
Their grievance with this institution is the fact that it has remained quiet to the plight of innocent citizens who have been victimised by SARS operatives. The protesters then went on to label the ministry, ‘the ministry of injustice.’
— OMO IYA ONIYAN♏ (@ibrahimabayom10) October 15, 2020
This gesture by the angry crowd is no doubt understandable, and it also makes you wonder about other administrative bodies whose inaction propelled young Nigerians to react. A prime example would be the Ministry of Police Affairs, whose existence up until now was lost on many Nigerians.
Reintroduced by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, the Ministry of Police Affairs was brought in to aid in the fight against internal insecurity. Touted to be equipped with state of the art technology and surveillance tools, Buhari insisted that this body will be instrumental in keeping the peace.
However, since its reinstatement, crime rates have only gone up, no less on the part of the police. It failed to put its own men in check, thereby creating law enforcement agents who act with complete impunity.
Even as a lot of SARS stories were brought to light, this ministry still didn’t give any tangible response, they sat back and watched the situation fester to the point of a nationwide protest.
Minister of police affairs?as in just police affairs??. Oga when you resume at your desk what exactly do you do each day. IG mobilizes and coordinate his men, what do you do. For you to take this long to talk about the excesses of the police.? 🤔
— Onyedikachi Eze (@OnyedikachiEze5) October 6, 2020
Shame on you
1) For holding an office that almost no one is aware of
2) For not pushing for better salaries for @PoliceNG
3) For not ensuring that they are properly reformed and trained
4) For not ensuring that they even have a database for arrested or detained civilians
— Roberta A. Ukaga 🧚♀️ (@Roberta_Ukaga) October 12, 2020
The ministry has come under heavy fire online, with the backlash trickling down to any organisation relating to law enforcement.
Even the Police Complaint Response Unit which has done very little in booking rogue and violent officers have been noted by Nigerians online and people are lashing out.
I have sent various complaints without a single response from you. I feel that you are selective in what you attend to.
— The Legacy (@Festylala) August 29, 2019
Please does the End SARS protest remind you of all the complaints?
Those you responded and those you ignored. Now the hierarchy of the Police has put our nation at risk of disintegration and economic woes, which could result from this current protest. Are you people happy now?
— Marvel Joseph (@Marvel_Essien) October 14, 2020
The Ministry of Justice is no different, as it failed to enforce laws that put SARS officers in check. It’s discouraging, to say the least, that even with all these administrative bodies, the country is still largely lawless, absurdly perpetrated by actual policemen.
Now, all we have from these organisations are solutions that don’t even seem urgent or clever enough. The solutions don’t also feel like they are intended to solve the issue, but instead, shut protesters up.
Now, joint resolutions from the Inspector General of Police, the Ministry of Police Affairs and similar stakeholders are being criticised and rejected, and reprisals following after.
Minister of what??? 👂
So there’s IGP then minister of police. This is one of the unnecessary office that needs to be scrapped too. It’s a total waste of public funds, no offense.
— OLUCHI⚡️ (@General_Oluchi) October 11, 2020
You mean Nationwide Thieves and Corrupt Leaders!
— #ENDSARS #ENDSWAT #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY (@EndSarsbott) October 14, 2020
How can u always show up once in a while like Rainbow and disappear after sometime,is it lack of data or network issue Soro Soke so we can help
— Larru G (@larru_g) October 13, 2020
Never seen him on TV before seF
How do they give these people appointment
— Moshood Abiola (@De_Moshood) October 13, 2020