By Chukwudi Nweje
A youth group, Let’s Get Empowered Initiative has warned the government and its allies against alleged attempts to infiltrate the #EndSARS protests with “desperate criminal agents.”
The #EndSARS protest is the biggest political statement by the Nigerian youths in recent history, and warned that rather than try to rubbish it, the government should engage the youth protesters transparently, Executive Director of the group, Collins Steve Ugwu, quoted Mr. Uche Annie-Okonkwo, youth empowerment mentor and convener of the group, as saying in a statement.
According to him, “this wicked news everywhere of high wired designs by federal government and allies to penetrate and defile our youths zeal standing up to this severely maladministered Nigeria at all levels, should not just be denied conveniently by government, but must be seen to pro actively prevent it from happening. Our youths having conducted themselves with civility never seen before, government should never succumb to cheapen such resolve by arm twisting criminalisation of such a process with present and future utility precedent . As a government that routinely ridicules opposing voices as wailers, the strategy to engage the youths transparently is by far the best than any temptation to muzzle our liberty to protest and privilege to assemble peacefully, because when positive change is denied recklessly, peoples power is released liberally.”
Annie-Okonkwo said the group has credible intelligence that the violence in Edo and Lagos states where police stations were burnt were the handiwork of criminal impersonators.
He said the ongoing protest was metaphors for end to corruption, poor governance and other ills in the governance structure of Nigeria and urged genuine protesters to remain vigilant.
“I call on everyone proudly involved directly or by proxy, to maintain eternal vigilance in keeping the campaign non violent, to make sure that sponsored infiltrators or self serving malcontents do not dent the huge stature of this redemptive mission. And besides, the irony of the Nigerian Army choosing to dance as “a smiling crocodile” at this time is not is not a laughing matter to anyone except them. It is also now time to put the government perceived responsiveness, to test by quickly sorting out the #EndSARS leadership structure, with the desired authority to stay decisively interlocked with government on permanent interface as a norm not a favour, because no one is a higher Nigerian than our great youths,” he said.