For over two weeks now since October11,2020 when it all started peacefully, the economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been held by the jugular by thousands of protesters that had thronged the streets in nearly every major town and city in the country voicing out great dissatisfaction against the misdemeanour of an institution of state established and run for the sake of protecting the lives and property of the citizens for the prevalence of law and order as dictated by the supreme instrument of law of the country, the 1979 Constitution and the 1999 Constitution as amended. The protesters were angered by the impunity with which the now disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force operatives acted with flagrant disregard of the provisions of the act establishing their parent institution, the Nigeria Police Force as well as with utter disregard for the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
One of the key demands of the protesters was the scrapping of the dreaded Police outfit, a demand which government did not waste time in granting. In furtherance to the acknowledgement of another key grievance of a Reformation of the policing system, the government promised a holistic overhaul of the system towards deepening professionalism in the Nigeria Police Force with attendant greater attention to the welfare concerns of the personnel as well as their operational environments just as it promised a re-orientation of the Nigeria Police Force to subjugate itself to the Rule of Law in the discharge of its responsibilities in accordance with universal best practice..
Following the disbandment of the evil-faced SARS, the Nigeria Police Force immediately announced the creation of a new unit to replace it, the Special Weapons and Tactics, SWAT. While announcing the formation of the new outfit, the police authorities said no member of the discredited outfit would be recruited into the new outfit, which would also come with distinct sets of uniform. In addition, only young, agile and intelligent personnel with not less than seven years of unblemished policing experience would be recruited for the new outfit. The government declared its determination to uphold the sanctity of the Rule of Law by ensuring that all the disreputed operatives of the SARS that were found culpable of the abominable acts that necessarily generated the ongoing upheavals that had been hijacked by hoodlums of varying colourations.
Already some state governments have set up panels of inquiry into the alleged brutalization and dehumanization levelled against the former operatives of the disbanded SARS.
By the time that the haze must have cleared from the horizon, Nigerians will wake to the reality that careless handling of the constitutional rights of expression, association, movement and agitation had done more damage than could ever be imagined. The incalculable damage to the country had certainly taken the country back by years and these could be hardly regained given the daily worsening global economic downturn occasioned by the unyielding Corona Virus Disease pandemic that had taken a great toll on even the strongest economies of the world.
Could you imagine that some have even introduced an ethnic dimension into the crisis, trying to set up the Yorubas against the Ibos, people that have lived together in peace and harmony for so long in Lagos where most of the destruction of economic assets including critical infrastructure took place.
Good reasoning must prevail and the senselessness in looting and desecration of institutions have to stop for the win-win situation already attained to prevail.
It is highly disheartening that the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the custodian of peace, traditions and cultures of the estimated over twenty-three million people in the Lagos megapolis was attacked.
Equally disheartening is the looting of warehouses containing palliatives pooled together by public and private sector collaboration, CACOVID, led by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele with such distinguished members as Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Tony Elumelu, Mike Adenuga and Ishaku Rabiu, etc.
The palliatives were meant to help in cushioning the massive devastation visited on the citizens of the country without discrimination along ethnic and religious divides. They were neither to be shared along political lines.
It is high time the protesters realized they have no other country than Nigeria and therefore, they should sheathe their swords and walk in peace to keep the unfailing appointment with posterity.
Meanwhile government should live up to its responsibility of unveiling good governance.