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#EndSARS and its aftermath

Published by The Nation on Tue, 24 Nov 2020

Usman BulamaSIR: The EndSARS protests remains until now, a subject of much discourse in both the traditional and new media. As we were told, it was a protest genuinely articulated, designed and carried out by some suave and enlightened people against a unit of the police known for its notoriety on infringing citizen rights. It was by all intent peaceful at first but unfortunately hijacked by people now blithely called hoodlums.If the truth be told, hunger and anger have reached a crescendo in the population without segregation. In all protests against tyranny and bad governance; and where the economy is mismanaged with corruption and nepotism pervasive, public resentment can only be expected. Nigeria is a country with about 70 percent of population made up of a bubbling, energetic youths, many of them graduates, most of whom are jobless and wasting for years on end. So it was an unorganized lot waiting for an opportunity to vent their pent up frustrations. Hence, as the peaceful and orderly #EndSARS protest started in Nigerias leading socio-economic city of Lagos, it was as though youths in other cities were just waiting for a cue and when Lagos went ablaze, other cities got lit as well with smoldering infernos.Nevertheless, no matter the level of angst or the despondency and despair, no right thinking person would, endorse the wanton destruction and desecration of public properties and revered institutions. While the police suffered most, individual properties were looted and/or destroyed.The police being the initial target need our sympathy and empathy. They have their shortcomings and their ubiquitous greed and itchy hands do not make a good case for them. Even then, others serving the public in other outfits are not better than the police. Unless we want to go back to our primeval past, we just cant do without the police.Given that the police is a sine qua non for a functioning society, the hatred against them must stop and the police on its part must reciprocate by being disciplined and avoid the dirty acts that engender public ridicule and opprobrium. The clich the police is your friend has so far been practiced in the reverse, friends dont kill friends.It is time to re-organize the police in a way it will attract public respect. The calls for re-organization is not only about having state police but includes modernizing the police, motivating them with improved salaries, perks and what have you, that will enable them to live comfortably within their incomes. As a corollary to motivation, police/public dialogue must be promoted beyond rhetoric. Security as it is said, is everybodys concern and hinged on that both sides will benefit from a rapport.Usman Bulama,Mairi Village, Maiduguri.
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