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OPINION: #ENDSARSProtest and the lessons 

#ENDSARS protesters in Asaba, capital of Delta State
By Ibrahim Mustapha

The peaceful end sars protests which turned bloody have come and gone leaving bitter taste in the mouth of government,families of innocent young protesters that lost their lives and other individuals whose properties worth millions of naira were either vandalized or carted away by the criminals.
The end of SARS protest began peaceful with the protesters demanding for government to end the SARS brutality against Nigerians. Interestingly,the government agreed with the protesters demand and scraped it. After the disbandment of notorious SARS,the inspector general of police,announced the creation of special weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT) to replace SARS. Sadly,instead of the protesters to sheath their sword and wait for government actions,the protest took a dangerous dimension. It was hijacked by miscreants or thugs.
The once peaceful protests turned violent and leaderless. Criminals wielded and brandished dangerous weapons. They harassed and attacked law abiding citizens. Before government put stop to their madness,the country atmosphere was terse and chaotic. People were running helter-skelter to avoid mobs who were on rampage maiming,killing and looting the helpless Nigerians.
   The protests which started in Abuja and Lagos suddenly spread like wild fire across the country. In Northern Nigeria,many youths staged a protest calling for government to end the insecurity that defies lasting solutions and continue to claim the lives of poor villagers. Even Nigerians in diaspora,in solidarity with the protesting youths were not left out. From Germany,England,France to American it were protest by Nigerians calling for government to end SARS.
Although,the protests have yielded the expected results by forcing government to disband SARS,in Lagos and Edo States it were tales of gory. The violent protesters burned NPA,the Nation news paper office and broke into correctional centers in Benin where inmates where set free. While the protests persist,then came a report of lekki shooting where number of protesters are said to have been killed by armies.
The lekki alleged shooting of protesters have generated mixed reactions and condemnation from international communities.
  The aftermath of the protests was greeted by looting spree by Nigerian youths. Many states ware house in which covid-19 palliative food items were stored had been bursted into and goods carted away. In a circulated video clips,one sees struggling youths picking any food items in sight.
The commotion that characterised the looting drama has resulted in the death of many in Kwara state. The way and manner with which the youths looted the covid-19 foods reaffirmed the belief that,the country is in hunger mood. The question begging for answer is: Why have the state governors refused to share the covid-19 palliatives?
The covid-19 pandemic have wrecked havoc to the economy with many household struggled to eke out a living. The palliative are deliberately rolled out to help the poor people. It is very disturbing to find that many state governors have failed to share it for reason best known to them. Now,those who hoarded the palliatives have to contend with the excessiveness of hungry and frustrated Nigerians. Those responsible for hoarding the foods should have themselves to blame.
   Prior to the unfortunate protest which turned to riot,there have been series of international agencies damning report against the government of Nigeria. Last year,the world poverty clock ranked the country as the poverty headquarter of the world. In another report,Nigeria is said to be the least peaceful country in sub-Saharan Africa.
Recently,the food and agricultural organisation (FAO) predicts looming hunger in the country this year .These unpleasant report coupled with poor governance can trigger unrest in the country. Besides poverty and hunger,the high rate of unemployment is not helping matters. Most of the youths who participated in the end SARS protest are unemployed. As the saying goes “an idle mind is a devil workshop. While government has been blowing trumpet on some of its pro people policies or social intervention programs such as: trader-moni,anchor browers,N-power,school feeding etc. It seems these programs have failed to stimulate economy growth in the country.
   There is an urgent need for government to reevaluate these policies and remodeling them for effective service delivery. The end SARS protest is just a tipping point of frustration,poverty and hunger in the country. The present administration should create more jobs for our teeming unemployed youths. By so doing,the future protests will be less attractive for youths who are gainful employed.
Writes Ibrahim Mustapha pambegua,kaduna from Kaduna state. 08169056963




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