Sometimes, it is hard to place the needs of protesters. When you try to solve the problem they raised, they will demand for another one or accuse you of ignoring their major demand. If you try to listen and address them, they will tell you they don’t want your contribution because they want the whole world to know what you have done to them. They will shut you down and deny you the chance to address the issues they raised. Honestly, the best way to stop a protest is by preventing it.
The ongoing #EndSARS protest is a good example of the scenario described above. When the protest started, the protesters stated categorically that they don’t want SARS to be reformed but to be totally disbanded. Fortunately, on Sunday, 11 October, 2020, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced that SARS has been disbanded. However, the protesters did not take him by his words because they do not trust him. Apart from that, the fact that the men of SARS will be redeployed to other units of the Nigerian Police Force seemed not to go down well with them. No one actually knows what the true grievance is today, but the fact remains that the protest continued after Adamu’s press conference. And it is getting violent and bloody.
To be honest, I have tried to follow the rationale behind the continued protest, and the call for more demonstrators, but I am actually at lost. From all I can see, their demands have been met, so why is the protest still heating up? Permit me to ask, what exactly do the current protesters want? Of course it can’t be about SARS because it has been dissolved. So, why are they still demanding for ENDSARS?
Well, from the comments I see on Twitter handles of most of these protesters, I think I can point out some of the things they want – most of which are unrealistic.
- Dismissal of SARS Officials
As unfortunate as this might sound, most of us in this country don’t really know how things work. It is unfortunate that people went on the ENDSARS campaign and hoped that the SARS officials would be sacked and released into society (despite their expertise with weapons). Hence, when they heard that these officials will be redeployed, they raised hell. Someone even told me that it is wrong to send SARS officials to other police units because they will “corrupt” the officials they meet there. Well, I think it is high time somebody educated the protesters on this issue.
- Persecution of SARS Officials
I know that some SARS officials are brutal but I still know that there are good ones among them. I made out time to talk to some adults here in Enugu and they said that the youths don’t know how SARS made it safe for them. Yes, a lot of them made life unbearable for the youths. But then, it is wrong to assume that they should all be prosecuted, especially when there is no evidence against them.
- Abolishment of Every Special Police Force
There is no need spending much time on this. Many of these protesters do not want a special police force that will oversee armed robbery and other violent crimes. Somehow, they believed that ordinary black and black olopa can keep their community safe. Well, good luck to them.
I don’t know who should go out there and call the youths back home so that things can be worked out under a sane clime. Sorry to say this, but it is true that their protest is becoming more of a noise than a message. The IGP has given his order, what we need now is how to follow it up to ensure that it is well carried out. From what I learnt, the Anambra State government is already working with the state police command to disband SARS, even without a single protest happening there. This comes to show that the order given by the IGP is authentic and it is for the state governments to oversee its implementation. For this, any further protest has no good cause.
But then, here we are, our youths are being incited into endangering their lives by people that never stepped out of their homes or offices to join the protest. If I may say, parents need to talk to their youths now more than ever.