Okwe Obi, Abuja
A social analyst with Hope Initiative, Bashir Abdullahi, has appealed to the Federal Government and the #EndSARS protesters to come to a common ground in order to avert a further crisis, noting that the killings and looting were getting out of hand.
Aside from commending youths for coming out to speak with one voice against bad governance, he urged the government to be sincere in meeting the demands of the agitators.
While addressing newsmen in Abuja, Abdullahi said the success of the protests was an indication that Nigerian youths were very angry with the current situation in the country, which according to him was a product of many years of vision-less leadership and bad governance.
He said: ‘I suggest we please prepare to go to the table with the authorities to discuss but before then, we need a structured leadership and a well-articulated compilation of our demands which must be comprehensive and addressing all areas where leadership and governance have failed over the years.
‘The #EndSARS protest has sent a clear signal that the youths of Nigeria have found their voice and the message is that we need comprehensive reforms in all sectors of our country, be it security, education, healthcare, governance, economy or youth engagement.
‘To assume that it is all about police brutality is a simplistic interpretation of a complex. For decades, Nigerians have been complaining about police brutality, the Nigerian state has turned a blind eye, despite panels upon panels set up and recommendations upon recommendations made.’
He added that ‘the SARS problem and other forms of police brutality have lingered for too long. The Nigerian police are reputed to be the most corrupt in the world.
‘Each time there is a public outcry, the authorities take cosmetic measures. All presidents since 1999 have set up one panel or the other on police reform.
‘The reports are gathering dust on Aso Rock shelves. Meanwhile, the police have been gleefully stockpiling dead bodies, cocksure that there would be no consequences.
‘Poverty, unemployment and inequality are the biggest triggers of uprising in any society.
He tasked government to draw a lesson from the protests with a view to fulfilling its mandate to the citizenry, stressing that young persons who indulge in ‘yahoo’ business, drug dealing, and armed robbery are products of a system that does not reckon with the implications of unemployment and poverty.
‘An idle hand, it is said, is tempting the devil. No human being will sit at home and die of hunger. Self-preservation is a basic human instinct. If it is to steal, beg or borrow, the human being will strive to survive.
‘I am not in any way justifying crime. But a wise society will make a connection between unemployment, poverty and crime, and act decisively to address the problems at the root.
‘As a young Nigerian, I am very proud of the gallantry displayed by the youths in this movement. The accomplishments are already unprecedented but now require tactical measures in moving forward.
‘In all, we need to have an articulated game plan. We must have an end game in mind.
‘At what stage do we sheathe the sword and seize this golden opportunity to begin to hold leaders at all levels accountable as a movement? No government official, whether elected or appointed, should sleep at ease again,’ he said.