By Stephen Ubanna
President Muhammadu may not have known that the Youths protests championed by the END SARS Movement which had started in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center, on Thursday, October 8, 2020, would snowball into a nation-wide Youths protest that had dragged on for days without any sign of ending.
Femi Adsina, a Senior Special Assistant to the Katsina state born Nigerian President may have spoken the mind of the President when he reportedly said that the protest is a child’s play. He may not have had at the back of his mind that the aggrieved Nigerian Youths who are not happy over the defunct Special anti-robbery Squad, SARS, and other Police tactical teams brutality in the country were fully prepared for the protest.
Take for instance, they were said to have laid ambush at the Lagos state government Secretariat, Alausa, for four days without blinking . They were said to have made adequate provision for water, food, drinks and allowance for the protesters including arranging for bails for those in police Custody. Oluomo, Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers , Lagos, may have thought he could win the heart of the protesters by arranging food, water and drinks for them in a BRT bus but was disappointed. This is because the driver of the bus was chased way with what he was carrying.
. The northern Youths may have added another dimension to the protest by adding the problems of insecurity in the region, despite the repeated promises of Buhari and his security Chiefs , who constitute the National Security Council, NSC, since 2015 to address the problem. This is evident going by the ecent protest in Minna, Capital of Niger, home state ofenerals Ibrahim Babangida, a former military President and Abdulsalami Abubakar, another former military Head of State and Chairman, National Pece Committee, NPC.
The Niger state Youths were said to have taken to the streets to protest against insecurity, and poor condition of road Infrastructure , described as death traps. The Niger state Youths and youths from other states in the northern part of the country may not have seen anything wrong with Mohammed Adamu, the IGP, new creation, Special Weapons and tactics ,SWAT, team.
They believe that SWAT is necessary at this point in time in the country that SARS, had been scrapped to tackle the various security threats such as baditry, in the north west, killings in the north central and, the Islamic Fundamentalist group Boko Haram attacks in the north east. This is in addition to the problems of kidnapping and rape in the entire north. The northern Youths may have their reason to support the police SWAT team, particular. They believe that the new Police unit personnel are ‘’fully equipped and trained to tackle various forms of security threats in the region.
Yemi Osibajo, a Professor of Law and the Vice President may have known that this is a no win situation for the government as the members of the END SARS Movement had organisd a candle-light procession on Friday, October, 16, 2020, being the 10th day of the protest, at the Unity Fountain , Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and Lagos, in honour of the victims of extra-judicial killings in the country.
The trigger hungry Policemen in Lagos and the FCT, may not have disrupted the Youths candle light procession to avoid aggravating the situation. They were said to have been handicapped as the IGP, had withdrawn their guns.
Moreso , the Nigerian President may have known that he would be attracting the attention of the International Community if he dares deploy troops to disrupt the protests or last Friday candle light. It is not surprising why he had had kept mum to observe the situation and restrategise on how to bring the protests to an end.
Osinbajo, at the instance of Buhari, the retired Army General and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, recent apology to Nigerians was a clear indication that the Buhari led All Progressive Congress, APC, government , which had been at the helm of Affairs in this country over the last five years knew what they were doing right thing . Osinbajo, who could not hide his feelings had said that’’the protesst rocking the country goes beyond Negotiations about SARS’’.
The question on the lips of most people was why did the government allow the situation in the country to get so bad as to allow the Youths take over the streets in Lagos , Abuja and major cities in the country to force the government to do that which ought to have been done over the years. The Vice President, who may have spoken the mind of the President had said that there would not have been any basis for the END SARS protest ‘’if the government had moved fast in addressing the issues that had been raised the protesting Youths.
Typical of a populist leader who wants to warm themselves back to the heart of the people, Buhari may have humbled himself . ‘’Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry and understandably so. We could have moved faster to solve these pproblems and for this we are sorry’’, Osibajo had said. A humbled Buhari, who had spoken through Osinbajo, the Vice President had said that’’ these feelings of frustration by the people is justified’’.
The Nigerian President may have fallen back on the advice given to him by Enock Adejare Adeboye, the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian of GOD, RCCG, to restructure the country to avoid disintegration, tackle the rising case of unemployment, decay in the nation’s education system, and the general harsh economic situation in the country’’ . The Clergy man had urged the government ’’to developed new strategies for of policing to stop policemen from engaging in torture and extra-judicial killings’’.
Indeed, the Buhari Administration may have shown that the time has come to carry Nigerians along as the 37 SARS personnel who had been identified as having being involved in torture and extra-judicial killings in different parts of the country were said to have been dismissed by the IGP.
They were said to have been dissed on the orders of Buhari, acting on the report of the Presidential Panel on SARS reform which had found the trigger hungry officers culpable. They were said to have been found wanting following an Investigations of Human Rights Violations and abuse of office levelled against the SARS personnel. The Investigation panel was said to have been set up by the IGP, as against the Panel which the President had promised to set up to look into the rave allegations of rights violations against the SARS personnel.
The IGP was said to have broken the news of the 37 officers recommended for dismissal at a meeting between the Police Service Commision , PSC, and the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC.
The Presidential Panel may have arrived at the decision to apply the sledge hammer on the 37 SARS officers based on the 113 Complaints on alleged Human Rights violations across the country and 22 memoranda on suggestions on how to reform and restructure SARS and the Nigerian Police, NPF, in genera.
The suggestions on SARS, restructuring may have informed why Adamu, the IGP, had quickly established the Special Weapons Tactics, SWAT , team as a replacement. He had said that no former member of the SARS team would be deployed to the new team. He got it wrong as the END SARS, protesters did not see any difference between SARS and SWAT.
The END SARS protests may have given ammunition to a group of alleged International Cyber fraudsters to attack some Federal government agencies websites including that of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Friday, October 16, 2021. The group, described as prominent in hacking government agencies websites globally were said to have announced its decision to attack the Nigeria government agencies websites as a way of showing its solidarity with the with the protesters clamouring for the reforms of the NPF.
But the CBN, under the close watch of Godwin Emefiele, in a Statement issued by Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director , Corporate Communications, had said that contrary to claims in the social media alleging that the website of the CBN , www.cbn.gov.ng, has been breached by some malicious persons ‘’we wish to categorically state that our website is secure’’.
The apex bank had assured Nigerians , the trading public and all other stakeholders that’ ‘’the CBN website is adequately protected and that there is no cause for alarm’’. Appealing to members of the online Community to desist from peddling the false news which is aimed at demining the integrity of the apex bank , which is the country’s Collective asset, Nwasinobi, the bank spokesperson insists that ‘’there was no cause for alarm’’. W e ensure price and financial system stability and promote sustainable economic development, the he had said.
Even Twitter had Corroborated the Claims of the CBN Authorities that’’ its website was never hacked by any anonymous hacker’’. Many believe that the news making the rounds that the CBN website was hacked was planned by those who want foreign exchange users dealers to resort to panic buying and then , force down the Exchange Rate of the naira to the United states dollar, in the FOREX market.
In a related development, the leadership of the NHRC, had Constituted an 11-man , Independent Investigative Panel, IIP, notwithstanding the Investigative Panel that had been set up by the IGP, to look into the allegations of Human Rights Violations levelled against the Operaives of the defunct SARS, which had recommendd 37 officers found guilty of torture and Rights Violations for dismissal.
Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of the Commission had said that that Panel will accept petitions, listen to complaints and receive memoranda from people across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT. The Committee , which is Headed by Suleiman Galadima, a tired Justice of the Supreme Court is expected to make recommendations to the government on how best to reform SARS and other units of the Force,
The Pane;, according to insider sources had the backing of the Presidency. Recall that last Saturday, the Protesting Youths had staged a prayer walk across the country seeking divine intervention on the state of the nation.