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#EndSars and Nigeria’s democracy

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#endsars-and-nigeria’s-democracy

SIR:  The aftermath of the #Endsars protests sparked by emboldened Nigerian youths who dared to hold their leaders accountable has proved retributive for the protesters. The EndSARS movement started as a means to liberate Nigerian youths from police brutality and the excesses of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officials who extort money from hard-working youths or whoever they suspect to be a “yahoo” boy under the guise of questioning such persons. Following the abrupt manner in which the protests ended, the last straw being the Lekki shootings; it is inevitable that Nigerian youths come to terms with certain facts. The most glaring of them is the attitude of the government towards the series of protests and its antecedent cause.

It is noteworthy that the government continues to fall short in addressing the demands made by the entire populace ranging from good governance to putting an end to police brutality, disbandment of SARS and justice for the victims of the atrocities committed by SARS officials.

Instead is the unapologetic stance of the Nigerian government manifested in the paranoia that has propelled all manners of anti-regime conspiracies and the current wave of clampdown.

It is obvious to all, except the government, that this democracy is in decline because youths haven’t only been denied the platform for creative engagement, but every attempt to exercise fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and movement is being stifled.

It reeks of distaste when the government of a democratic society prioritises the future of repentant Boko Haram insurgents over those of hardworking youths who labour for their daily bread. Yet, this is the sad reality in Nigeria and it is the heart of unrest has plagued the nation.

Yes, amnesty deals are offered to terrorists while citizens face the trigger should they dare to demand for accountability from those governing them. It would seem the government is oblivious to the fact that such efforts is counterproductive to the fight against terrorism.

Yet, as uncertainty lurks in the present, hope beckons from the future in form of the 2023 elections when it is expected that democracy will resurrect and the power to choose will be returned to the people as is the norm, but the questions originate: should citizens wait till 2023 to take a stance? Is is the change of candidates that counts or an entire overhaul of components that could contribute to the emergence of yet another dictatorial regime in 2023?

  • Elle Adedoyin, Lagos.

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