Nigerian youths and the army


What these #EndSars protesters have shown the world is that, the youths are sick and tired of the system.

The system that allows all manner of injustice, brutality, arbitrariness and killings visited on the youths of this country by security agencies surely requires some adjustment. The youths have decided to take up the gauntlet and demand for the federal government to stop the brutality and improve the welfare of the police.

This is a bottled up anger of many years. A disappointment that no government over the years have done anything meaningful to address. For the Nigerian youths, #EndSars protests brought the opportunity for them to challenge the government elected by them to listen to their cries. To them, it is now or never, a battle, though this battle will not be fought by throwing stones, wielding dangerous weapons against any person, not even at the police or government officials.

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It is difficult to begrudge these youths in their determination, insistence, organization and demands.   For the first time in history, the Nigerian youths were on the streets, day and night, without the traditional activists, student or labour unions leading. The sons and daughters of the big in the society were part and parcel of the protest, daily mobilizing funds to cater for their feedings, drinks, medicals and other exigencies.

They hired private security men to protect protesters from hoodlums, clean the streets of all rubbish each day, provide parking spaces for vehicles so as not to block the roads. The government, unfortunately did not take advantage of their peaceful conduct  to engage them.

It is shocking that Nigerian Army would be unleashed on the peaceful protesters of the #EndSARS. The army did not go to Orile-Iganmu in Lagos, where hoodlums sacked and burnt a police station, looted weaponry; it did not make any move to protect the Benin prison when hoodlums went to set inmates free; rather, they went to Lekki toll gate where protesters gathered peacefully.

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A place that witnessed and received commendation for organization, discipline in the way and manner they protested. These youths were not armed, they did not throw stones at the military yet the Nigerian Army opened fire.

What happened at Lekki axis in Lagos on October 20, was a well-rehearsed, planned attack on Nigerian youth. The Nigerian activists and democratic institutions must document the atrocities. An example must be set to ensure that defenceless citizens will never again be shot at by security agents.

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