Contradictory Ingredients In #EndSARS Protests In The South Of Nigeria

The Oasis Reporters

October 25, 2020

By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP
Okwubunka of Asa.

There is hardly any human Organization that has no origin, purpose and (or) antecedents.

The origin of the Nigerian Police dates as far back as 1920. It started basically as a British Colonial Paramilitary Agency screwed as a willing tool to coerce the people of the different nations that would later be forced into amalgamation to form what today constitutes the Nigerian State, into submission. Frankly speaking, the Police in Nigeria were not established to be friendly or protective of the ordinary citizen. Their loyalty has always been directed towards the Ruling Class.

Police brutality in Nigeria is, therefore, not alien. It is sequel to their conception and historic rules of engagement. Civility and orderliness do not occupy much space in the dictates of the Nigerian Police Force. The Police are not our friends. Hence, more than Twenty Most Senior Police Officers could be abruptly and summarily retired just to create room for a very Junior Officer to be un-meritoriously handpicked as Inspector-General of Police.

In more than ninety-five percent of cases of brutality by the Nigerian Police Force, it is the people of the South of Nigeria that are both the casualties and victims. Out of this percentage, the Igbo have more than fifty percent.

SARS in Nigeria, until recently, was a Police acronym for Special Anti-Robbery Squad. In view of the magnitude of menace by criminals and hoodlums in the country, especially in the former Southern Protectorate of Nigeria, the formation of SARS was a welcome development.

Regrettably, SARS, true to what the Nigerian Police Force represents, became a violently brutal scavenger against Nigerian Citizens.

Instead of focusing on highly-placed Nigerian public office holders whose stock-in-trade is to heartlessly loot the public treasury dry, they were unjustifiably determined to smoke life out of young Nigerian Entrepreneurs, Artists and traders. No thanks to innovations in technology, they moved with Point of Sale(PoS) machines in their vehicles. They stopped and unlawfully searched travelers on our highways. Any amount of money they observed in people’s mobile phones, they forced such persons, at gunpoint, to disclose their pin number and forcefully transferred such amounts to their own bank accounts. Of course, any resistance to such official robbery by the Police meant death.

The Police, either through SARS or any other unit, have become the most notorious official gang of extortionist Marauders in Nigeria. Their strength is only directed at the weak harmless innocent Nigerians. They dare not go five kilometers close to where armed robbers are said to be operating. None of them would ever wish to be deployed to Borno, Yobe or Adamawa State where Islamist Boko Haram, which was created by Islamist Northern politicians, has held swear since 2014.

To crown it all, SARS had recklessly and brutally annihilated many youths in Nigeria. Again, all the victims were people from the South of Nigeria. The Police in Nigeria give the impression that it is only Southerners that commit crime in Nigeria. ‘Every Fulani or Hausa person is portrayed as a saint’.

Police impunity in Nigeria is encouraged by the awkwardness of the Nigerian Federation. The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria was, without any consultations, written by the Nigerian Army which has, for too long a time, tilted towards the Moslem North and forcefully disadvantageously imposed on the whole country. It is such a Constitution that the South has been squeezed into as an irrelevant minority.

An attempt, a bold one for that matter, was made by the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 to address the visible imbalance in the 1999 Constitution via a National Conference. Contrary to good reason, General Buhari has vowed not to do anything with the Report of the 2014 National Conference.

The avoidable result has become general frustration on the part of Southerners. The attendant dejection has led a majority of youths in Igbo land to agitate for an Independent State of Biafra while Igbo Elders, including Yours Sincerely, through Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, are demanding for a Restructuring of the Nigerian State.

Interestingly, the South-West, South-South and Middle-Belt are on the same page with the Ohaneze. They want Nigeria to be Restructured.

Frustration of the Nigerian Youths has climaxed in what they term #ENDSARS Protest. The Protest, though tagged ENDSARS, is all encompassing. It demands an end to Police brutality, Corruption, Review of Extraneous Salaries of Political Office Holders, Enabling Environment for Youth Development, Restructuring of Nigeria and so on.

In response to the Protest, the APC-led federal government of General Muhammadu Buhari disbanded SARS but annoyingly spontaneously replaced it with what it calls Special Weapons And Tactics Team(SWAT). This does not, in any way, guarantee an end to Police brutality.

A nation-wide protest that started on Thursday 8 October, 2020 has lasted for two consecutive weeks. The protest has attracted the attention of not only prominent personalities from Nigeria but also dignitaries from the global community. A former Secretary of State of the United States of America, Mrs Hillary Clinton, has called on General Buhari to address the Citizens of his country on the protest. However, her piece of advice, as usual with the General, has fallen on deaf ears.

Rather than address the issues raised by the Protesters, the Buhari Administration has turned the genuine peaceful protest into an Ethnic cum religious conflict. Hoodlums from the core Moslem North have been ‘shiploaded’ into Abuja, armed to the teeth and have been unleashing mayhem on Southerners, especially the itinerant Igbo, living in Abuja. Many have been killed, with their property irretrievably damaged.

In Lagos, the Fulani-controlled Nigerian Army deployed unprofessional soldiers who rained life bullets into peaceful Protestants at the Toll Gate at Lekki. Hundreds dropped dead on the spot. Taking into consideration both the cosmopolitan and metropolitan status of Lagos, it would not be in any doubt that the Igbo were among the dead!

So, from Abuja and Lagos, apart from the well known casualties and victims already sustained through the infamous SARS’ hooliganism in the country, the Igbo are already heavy losers. Meanwhile, the Moslem North has not lost even a drop of water.

Those of us who witnessed the Nigerian/Biafra War of 1967 to 1970, are in a position to State categorically that the Igbo have not yet recovered from the war. The number of Police Check-Points on roads in the South-East, especially under General Muhammadu Buhari Administration, where brutal extortion of motorists and other road users take place by force, are a confirmation that the Buhari Administration is still fighting a war of attrition against the Uniquely Industrious Igbo Ethnic Nationality.

It, therefore, makes any sane and critically-minded Igbo Man or Woman to bleed seeing Igbo Youths going on Rampage and Destroying Government Property and Even Banks In Igbo Land.

What Justification And Consolation Would Make Igbo Youths To Destroy And Set ABA TOWN HALL ON FIRE?

What would they give as their reason for setting Headquarters of Aba-North Local Government Council ablaze?

It is rumoured that Igbo Youths in Aba have been contemplating marching to the Umuobiakwa Country-home of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to raze down his residence. The question here is, what did Governor Okezie Ikpeazu do? Abia State has had Chiefs Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji as Governors before Ikpeazu. In fairness, would any person deny that the first two did not do better than Ikpeazu even all through the eight years each of them had ruled?

It is sad that a national issue like the current ENDSARS Protest that should unite the Igbo is rather serving as an instrument of division amongst the Igbo.

The general impression now amongst the people of Ngwa Land is that ‘OHUHU PEOPLE’ are hiding under the Camouflage of the Protest to Manifest their time-held animosity against them, by destroying things in ABA-NGWA.

In summary, the PEACEFUL ENDSARS PROTEST ls ln Order And Quite Commendable But It Should Not Destroy What We Already Have And It Should Also Not Divide The Igbo Nation. Igbo Unity Should Be Sacrosanct And Indisputable.

Sir Don Ubani, a former Commissioner for Information in Abia State, writes from Umuahia

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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