The clampdown on EndSARS protesters is ill-advised, argues Sonnie Ekwowusi
It’s unlucky that because the abatement of the #EndSARS protests the federal government has been unlawfully arresting, torturing and detaining some #EndSARS protesters and promoters. That is unlucky. Why? As a result of it might provoke the youths to stage one other spherical of protests. We’re but to recuperate from the damaging results of the final spate of protests but the federal government will not be softening the bottom for peace to reign. That is the time to sheath the sword. Let’s give peace an opportunity. Sadly as a substitute of giving peace an opportunity the federal government is persecuting the #EndSARS promoters and protesters: the federal government has been unlawfully arresting, detaining, torturing, confiscating the passports and freezing the financial institution accounts of a number of the #EndSARS protesters and their allies. That is unhappy. As I used to be saying right here final week, in the course of the #EndSARS protests the federal government pleaded with the protesters to finish the protests on the mutual understanding that it will meet all of the calls for of the protesters. The ‘five-point’ demand contains the fast launch of all protesters arrested, justice for all deceased victims of police brutality, psychological analysis of all safety officers, establishing an impartial physique to supervise the investigation of all studies of police misconduct and the rise of the salaries of law enforcement officials in order that they’re adequately compensated for his or her jobs.
However as a substitute of fulfilling its personal a part of the understanding with #EndSARS protesters, the federal government is now resorting to arresting some #EndSARS promoters, confiscating their passports and freezing their financial institution accounts. Through the years the federal government has developed a sure proclivity for reneging from mutual agreements (Keep in mind authorities/ASUU lingering feud over botched agreements?). The federal government ought to abide by agreements with second events. To renege from a binding settlement smack off insincerity and fraud. So, if the federal government has agreed to the aforesaid ‘five-point’ demand of the protesters, it should not flip round to be arresting and confiscating the passports of the promoters of the #EndSARS protests. For instance, #EndSARS promoter Modupe Odele was not solely prevented from travelling overseas however her passport has been seized by the state. As on the time of writing, her passport had not been returned to her. This type of perspective is able to scary the youths to stage one other rebellion. In Director of SSS V Olisa Agbakoba, the courtroom held that a global passport is a personal property (not state property) and that by confiscating the passport of Agbakoba the SSS was in contravention of his proper to freedom of motion as assured by part 38 (1) of the 1979 Structure which was then in pressure in Nigeria. Authorities can also be freezing the financial institution accounts of the #EndSARS protesters, promoters and their pals. This once more can provoke the restive youths to stage one other rebellion. Freezing the checking account of a buyer with out an order of courtroom is a flagrant disregard and violation of the best of the client. Neither the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) nor the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) has statutory energy to freeze the checking account of a suspect and not using a courtroom order. And any financial institution that freezes the account of any buyer and not using a courtroom order is closely liable to the client. The purported ex-parte order allegedly obtained by the CBN in Abuja as a way to freeze the accounts of some #EndSARS protesters is fraught with suspicion. Small surprise a number of the individuals whose financial institution accounts had been frozen have dragged the banks to courtroom.
One other foreseeable authorities motion able to scary the youths to start out one other rebellion is the “regulation” of social media. Prior to now, the federal government had been threatening to “regulate’ the social media in Nigeria. Now it seems the “regulation” is imminent. First: the supposed “regulation” quantities to violation of the best to freedom of expression as assured in our 1999 Structure and the African Constitution of Human and Folks’s rights. Second: assuming the “regulation” is warranted (which is denied), the time will not be auspicious. I can’t perceive why this authorities is at all times in search of bother. Was it not the identical authorities that was begging the #EndSARS protesters to name off the protests? They referred to as off the protests. Now as a substitute of giving peace an opportunity, the federal government is considering of dislodging the younger folks from social media.
To avert additional lack of human lives, arson, property harm, looting, brigandage and stealing, authorities ought to please bury the hatchet. Nothing is gained by bearing grudges. Nothing is gained by revenging in opposition to the #EndSARS protesters. In spite of everything, they’re our youngsters. So, somewhat than wage warfare in opposition to our youngsters the federal government ought to, within the forthcoming weeks, work out packages, scholarships schemes and others that might assist the Nigerian younger to develop up bodily, mentally, morally, spiritually, socially in a wholesome setting and in situations of freedom and dignity. That is the one approach the federal government can nurture the long run leaders of tomorrow.
The reality of the matter is that younger folks on this nation, or, these within the age bracket of, say, 18 to 45 who technically could possibly be categorized because the youthful technology, are offended, maybe extra now than earlier than, over the way in which they’re continually being shortchanged. They’re offended concerning the degenerating nation’s politics; concerning the rising youth unemployment; concerning the failed schooling system, in brief, about every thing. The paradox is that the Nigerian younger represent the majority of our inhabitants, but they’re utterly marginalized within the scheme of issues. Subsequently it’s suicidal to maintain on shortchanging the younger folks, the leaders of tomorrow. As a substitute of shortchanging them, the federal government must be involved concerning the uncountable variety of youth roaming the streets. Idleness breeds violence, immorality, criminality and different vices. Except one thing is completed urgently to stem the tide of youth unemployment we could also be heading for a closing showdown.
Sadly the obvious answer appears to lie within the scandalizing variety of Nigerian younger queuing up on the nation’s airports to flee the nation as a way to search succour in Ghana, Togo, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, identify them. These fleeing kids are sad to be forcibly uprooted from their fatherland. A few years in the past I ran right into a younger Nigerian in Washington D.C. No sooner had I attempted to start out a dialog with him than he began hurling insults at Nigerian political leaders for misgoverning the nation and consequently making it tough for younger Nigerians like him to maximise their potential.