By Francis Ottah Agbo
The #EndSars now protests have been peaceful, civilized and successful with many manifest gains recorded. Some clergy men even joined to add celestial and ecclesiastic elixirs to what started as a movement!
This was the story of the demonstrations across Nigeria until today when some of the protests went violent in Edo, Lagos States, and still counting.
The intention of #End Sars now, if I am right was to put a stop to police brutality, corruption, bad governance and so on.
But reports reaching me indicated that in parts of Nigeria, like Benin and Lagos, the protesters are doing same things that the protests aimed to condemn and stop.
Police men were killed, police stations burnt, vehicles burnt, property charred, hardened criminals freed from Correctional Centres. Some police men on routine duties were even subjected to punishments on the streets!
Homes of some perceived money bags are being ransacked with money and other valuables carted away! These have in my opinion eroded the gains of the protests.
In the light of the above, I wish to call on the vibrant youths of Ado, Okpokwu, Ogbadibo Federal Constituency and the Nigeria youths in general to coherently make their demands to the Federal Government.
They should state clearly the time frame in which their demands are to be met and then discontinue with the protest, go back to the drawing board and wait for Government action!
This is the best approach to all worthy struggles! Struggles are a marathon not a 100-metre race! A struggle is also a means to an end, not an end in itself. Once it is seen as the latter then there is a problem like we are seeing now!
One of the takaways from the protests is that narcotic drug addicts, hoodlums and barefaced criminals have hijacked the protests in parts of the country and any attempt to continue this way, the Federal Government may deploy its repressive state apparatuses in the streets, in the name of restoring order! Your guess is as good as mine!
At the risk of sounding repetitive, a cursory look at the faces of the VIOLENT PROTESTERS showed clearly that they are drug addicts. Clearly these addicts have hijacked the once peaceful protests thereby wrecking havoc on law abiding Nigerians. This, more than ever before calls for the imperativeness of declaring narcotic drug addiction as a national emergency!
For the record, I always support all peaceful protests. I have consistently raised my voice in support of the reform of the police to amongst other things, de-link them from the colonial mentality in which the Colonial Masters used them to intimidate and brutalise we the natives, in order to be totally submissive to colonialism
I have also on the floor of the House of Representatives called for the restructuring of Nigeria particularly the restructuring of the police, the governance architecture and so on!
I am completely against the balkanization of Nigeria for I believe in a big country like Nigeria than a small country irrespective of its prosperity profile.
Yet we can make the current Nigeria an eldorado for we have all it takes to be a developed Nation. This was the direction the #End Sars protest was headed before it lost it!
Nigeria is the African Super Power not because of its mineral resources but because of its population! South Africa and Egypt are far more developed than Nigeria yet they are not as strategic and important as Nigeria. Why? They lack the numerical strength of Nigeria.
Also, if mineral resources were to be the determinants of greatness as some people have argued , Kuwait and other top oil producing countries would have had a head start over Nigeria in OPEC and international politics! So let us reform our country and perish the thought of balkanizing Nigeria. Let us change our negative attitudes and rebrand the country. Nigerians are good people, living in a great Nation!
-Hon. Francis Agbo is a member of the House of Representatives