Gbajabiamila vows budget must include compensation for SARS victims but do we trust it won’t be diverted? | #YNaijaEndSARSupdates

Various reactions have trailed the #EndSARS protest since it began. From serious opposition from the political class who initially turned deaf ears to the gradual change of attitude we are beginning to see, one can tell that the government is feeling the heat of the #EndSARS protest. It’s about time we see the desired change.

The reactions from our leaders are as diverse as they come. While some are volunteering to lead the protest, others are sending their apologies for being insensitive from the get-go. Just recently, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives disclosed that he would not sign off the 2021 budget without the inclusion of compensation for the #ENDSARS victims.

Watch the video here:

A step in the right direction, indeed. But what is the guarantee that the proposed funds will get to the right persons, considering the history of embezzlement and fund diversion that has plagued the system? 

The corruption allegation against the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), that claimed to have spent N81.5 billion within a space of 7 months is a case in point. We can only imagine what became of the projects the funds were meant for.

Another example is the N2.67B School Feeding programme funds that allegedly ended up in the private accounts of some undisclosed persons.

With the different accounts we have heard about funds diversion earmarked for various projects, how should we expect the proposed funds for the #EndSARS victims to be disbursed? There has got to be a reliable system of accountability if the speaker wants to be taken seriously. 

Making provision to compensate victims whose rights have been violated by the police is just one step towards fixing the endemic rot in the system. Other key issues such as cutting down on the cost of governance and slashing the unjustifiable salaries lawmakers earn is another critical issue to address.

The good thing about the reactions, however, is that it shows the voices of the youth are getting to them which is why the push must continue until we see the desired change, not just empty talks and promises from our leaders. It’s no longer business as usual.

The protest has no doubt, come with its challenges, including stiff oppositions and disruptions. The worst of it has been the deaths of beloved comrades – a significant reason why we must fight to get the government to act on all the laid demands; ensuring we get justice for the victims and their deaths were not in vain.

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