If you are a millennial, you, no doubt, must have heard someone from an older generation refer to Nigeria as the Giant of Africa. While this may be a source of pride, evidence of its integrity can only be found in books and historic events. If Nigeria truly is a giant, the phrase ‘sleeping giant’ would have been the best description, until two weeks ago.
The last two weeks have seen the entire country jolt out of its slumber. A call to end police brutality has evolved to a call to end social inequality, and this call only seems to spread. However, a campaign of this magnitude has allowed for divisive reactions.
A deplorable clause negotiated on the part of the government was predictable, violence ensuing at some point during the protests from either the protesters or the suppressors, seemed fairly expected, underhanded tactics by the government to disperse the protests was very foreseeable, and a pro-SARS movement emerging from the #EndSARS movement was to some degree accounted for.
Many people knew that the fight to end police brutality would be met with some resistance, and from citizens no less, some of which may have at some point in their life been harassed by the police, but this has not hindered the protests.
On the flip side, people can sometimes be exceptionally hooked to a certain system that no matter how agonising and oppressive it has been to them, fear and discomfort begins to creep in, at the thought of change.
Maybe this is what is happening with some of the residents of Abuja as they have chosen the other side of the protests. And, its quite troubling that these pro-SARS sympathisers are in the very demographic the #EndSARS protest is primarily fighting to liberate.
The story is that a group of young people went to file their grievances to an unidentified police unit in Abuja, against the #EndSARS protesters who they believe to be disruptive.
They then went on to explain to the officers present that if the police refuse to do nothing about the protests, they will take matters into their own hands. The warning seemed suggestive of violence towards the #EndSARS protesters should they continue to exercise their fundamental rights. The aggrieved youth also gave an ultimatum of 48 hours, before they begin to react.
Their problem seemed to be that the protests are hurting economic activities and slowing down businesses, but while this may be true, corrupt governance has done more harm to the economy than this protest can ever hope to do.
It’s depressing to see that these people are not aware of how helpful it would be to them if the #EndSARS movement and every other movement attached to it were to succeed, and it’s even more depressing to see how unaware they are of the villainy they have chosen to fight on the side of. As the saying goes, “Ignorance is always afraid of change. “