#EndSars Repercussions: Suppression and Erosion of Freedoms
The narrative and rhetoric being pushed by the Nigerian leadership following the #EndSars protest should be troubling if not scary to any discerning mind. While no responsibility has been taken by any government agency for the unfortunate loss of lives of protesters (peaceful or otherwise), the government and its goons have not been hesitant to put the blame for the eventual outcome of the protest on social media and the Nigerian youths.
Following the massacre at the Lekki toll gates, numerous Nigerian political leaders paid condolence visits to the Lagos state site of the massacre and proclaimed there will be investigations and consequences. On the surface, one would think these actors were serious about their intentions of fixing the problems resulting in the peaceful protests and bringing to book the perpetrators and their sponsors of the wanton destruction. It soon became evident that they were merely attempting to change the narrative in the view of the world to exert revenge on those they felt had the effrontery to go against them.
After the denial by the Nigerian Army of their involvement in the Lekki massacre, Bola Tinubu a leader in the ruling party All Progressives Congress (APC) visited the Lagos state governor and from his posturing and comments it became evident that he along with the Nigerian government are actively involved in a coverup. While speaking to reporters on a visit to the Lagos state governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu, Tinubu stated that restitution will be paid to those affected and also those who partook in the protests will be investigated to identify the level of their involvement. This statement raised red flags because in the views of Nigerians Mr. Tinubu was more concerned with the financial destruction and not the loss of lives due to the use of the Nigerian security agencies and government sponsored thugs released on the protesters.
It did not take long for other jokers to start to make similar calls without calling for the proper investigation of the killings of Nigerians at the hands of various security agencies. These calls have become scarier as the Nigerian Army sent a no-fly list of protest participants to the Nigerian Airport authorities while continuing to deny their involvement in the massacre. To worsen the narrative, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has frozen the account of numerous participants of the protest who financially facilitated the peaceful protest for about 12 days.
Some representatives of the people who are supposed to quell the current tension in the land have also resorted to harsh rhetoric against the Nigerian youths. Notable among these voices were Desmond Elliot, a former Nollywood actor and Mojisola Alli-Macaulay, both members of the Lagos State House of Assembly. These individuals who are youths themselves, have used their political positions to vilify the Nigerian youths with Macaulay calling Nigerian youths drug addicts and always on social media. Desmond Elliot did his by disrespectfully calling the youths children and advocated for the regulation of social media, a call also made by Macaulay and other political jokers. Mr. Elliot eventually resigned due to his comments which were not taken lightly by his constituents who called for his resignation. Efforts to recall Mrs. Alli-Macaulay from the Lagos State House of Assembly are currently underway by her constituents.
From the antics being displayed by the Nigerian political elites, it is evident that the current political class are not ready to do the needful for a better life for majority of the Nigerian citizens. Garba Shehu, the Nigerian president official spokesman is even insisting that Nigerian celebrities and social media influencers who were part of the protests will face the wrath of the law. Numerous Nigerian journalists and citizens have so far been arrested and facing bogus federal charges claiming they attempted to overthrow the government. This reasoning is antithetic to our constitution, democracy, and the stability of the country.
Nigerians need to be vigilant and united for their nascent democracy to stand the test of time as democracy is under attack globally and Nigeria is no different. Recent events in Nigeria is proof, and the recent raids on small business by the Hisbah Police in Kano and Kaduna are signs of more sinister actions on the part of the Nigerian government. Freedoms of the Nigerian citizens are been eroded daily and the current events is no different from 2019 when Omoyele Sowore called for a #RevolutionNow to protest bad governance and was arrested and similarly charged for trying to overthrow the government. He is still in the Nigerian courts for those charges.
The Nigerian youths cannot remain silent and should remember and never forget that the power belongs to the people and endeavor to build a solid grassroot base for a political revolution come 2023. Soro Soke!
Photo Credits: Vanguard News, Petitions.net