#EndSARS Reloaded: why Nigerian youths need to be more strategic in holding government accountable

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” – Thomas Jefferson

The above statement aptly captures the recent happenings in Nigeria today. Injustice has, indeed, become the law of the ruling class and the masses are suffering for it. But there is so much the people can take, that is why young Nigerians have risen once again to demand good governance and accountability; as well as to resist the oppression in a repressive system through a second wave of the #EndSARS protest that is underway.

The constant oppression of the youths occasioned the first phase of the nationwide protest in October 2020, which escalated beyond the shores of Nigeria, as Nigerians in the diaspora stood in solidarity with their brothers and sisters back home. Even prominent members of the international community empathized with the plight of the youths as they lent their voices in support of the protest while they called out the Nigerian government on its high-handedness.

With all the agitation for good governance, an end to police brutality, justice for victims of human rights violation among other things; one would have expected the government to thoroughly look into the grievances of the youth to provide the best solution to appease their anger and crush their frustration. Sadly, what Nigerians experienced was the direct opposite.

Their frustration was further aggravated with more oppression from the government. And an otherwise peaceful protest was disrupted by government-sponsored hoodlums. As a result, lives were lost and property destroyed, while the government blamed it on the peaceful protesters. Some protesters even had their passports seized while others were arrested. 

To make matters worse, the military was deployed to open fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza where many youths were gunned down. In addition to this, the government is openly employing different antics to frustrate the judicial panels’ effort to get justice for victims of various human rights violations by security operatives.

All these points to the fact that the Buhari administration is bent on keeping the people oppressed, and is less concerned about being accountable to the people with zero tolerance for the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly. This is why the youths are preparing to take to the streets yet again to register their grievances.

Accountability is central to good governance in every democracy and it is the right of the citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable. Speaking up against bad governance will help to keep the government on its toes, especially now that it appears nothing concrete has come out of all the pledges made by the government; while the Police, on the other hand, is making efforts to truncate a core part of the #5for5 demands by the youths – with the lawsuit they filed against the Judicial Panels of Enquiry to stop probing its activities.

As they keep fighting for good governance and accountability; the youths must, however, be more strategic in their approach to avoid being victimized yet again by a government that has no respect for its citizens constitutional right to peaceful assembly.

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