Security experts in the country have advised the citizenry to be security conscious and avoid night or early morning movements for the next couple of weeks to ascertain that the crisis which rocked the country has died down completely. The advice became pertinent to avoid any relatable act of reprisal which could supersede the nationwide #EndSARS protest embarked upon by Nigerian youths to reset the country. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA reports
After the armistice seemly observed by #EndSARS protesters across Nigeria, in a protest adjudged the worst civil unrest in the history of Nigeria in the past two decades, security experts across the country have warned Nigerians to avoid late night and early morning movement till normalcy returns to the society.
The security experts said that the #EndSARS protest embarked upon by angry Nigerian youths due to the suffering and misgovernance in the country is defining the order of things in Nigeria, saying that the peacefulturned violent protest has not been completely clogged as the youths are only observing the truce to know if justice will prevail before they sheath their swords.
According to them, Nigerians who go out early in the morning and others who go to keep night appointments, should readjust their schedules by ensuring they avoid the night and early morning movement till further notice as there may be pockets of reprisal.
A security expert and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Zammack Security Services, Dr. Gozie Achu, said the youths, especially those whose close friends and relatives were killed or injured in the protest may be on the act of reprisal until their pains are assuaged by the government enthroning justice system in the country that would relax the youths’ frayed nerves.
He advised Nigerians to sleep anywhere the night meets them until the police and other law enforcement agents return to their duty posts after the two weeks of intense protest in the country, especially in Lagos State. According to him, there may be a rise in criminal activities in the country due to the number of jailbreaks during the protest, which set a number of criminals free, saying that these unrepentant criminals could relocate to other parts of the country and find cover in order to unleash terror on innocent citizens.
He noted that during the protests, police stations were burnt, looted and perhaps, many guns were carted away which no one can underestimate the implication of such light and medium firearms in the hands of wrong persons. He warned the masses not to embark on any act that would make the police react irrationally, advising that no one should use what transpired during the protest to mock any police on the streets of Nigeria as this will trigger the ego of such officers to behave irrationally.
He said: “Despite the fact that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has ordered the police to take over the street and the society, they are yet to fully deploy the police in the areas where they used to station prior to the protest.
“Don’t forget that police are also human beings and they will also be scared for their lives. So, not all of them will be active right now and not all of them will respond to emergency situations in any part of the country, so we are meant to be careful and retrace our steps for now.
“The year has not been supportive so it calls for carefulness. Some police will be waiting to see the turnout of events before they can really engage any criminal. There are some places you used to see the police that you can’t find them for now until later time. So we need to be careful.” For Chief Operations Officer, Watertight Securities, Lagos, Ubong Bassey, it is the time for Nigerians to be careful like never before, saying that the major protest seemed to have stopped in Lagos, and other parts of the country but its effect may be long lasting.
“There is a situation in the country where everybody seems like behaving the way he likes because many security agents may not want to question them in order not to trigger the next circle of protest.
“This is a dangerous situation. It happened in Egypt and other Arabian countries after protests and more lives were wasted in the process. So I advise that if you don’t have any serious thing to do or have any serious reason to leave your house, I advise you stay at home. “Again, if you must go out try and go with somebody.
Don’t go out alone until the end of this year. You know that ‘Mber’ months come with its own crime and this protest will be an impetus to it. “It is risky out there; this is a trying time for Nigerians and everybody has to use his discretion. I implore every Nigerian to be security conscious like never before.” According to a staff of one of secret services in the country, who pleaded anonymity, there is an intelligence gathering that there will be a rampage of people with sinister motives, who may be driven by hunger or anger to commit crime.
The source noted that this is the time people should lock their doors and gates well before sleeping at night or going out in the morning as those people with criminal tendencies will be on rampage for conflicting reasons. The source said: “First, there will be robberies because there is hunger in the land and this is the end of the year. One of the reasons the protest gained traction was due to hunger and corruption in the land. “People are agitated within themselves.
Protest was a way of venting out their frustration which is yet to be addressed. As we all know, the end of the year is always associated with a rise in crime and this will be a combination of ugly situations. “Many people do a lot of things this period because they want to make the money they will spend during the festive seasons that mark the end of the year.
So, these things are bound to happen and the looting that has just taken place, may just spring up again when the heat is too much. “Remember that there has not been meaningful earnings this year and businesses have not fully opened. This year is marked with dwindling income, so people can do anything when hungry.
“Again, rise in crime is always an outcome of every war or uprising like we just have in Nigeria. People will want to continue in the crisis and use the weapon in their possession to commit more crime.
So, we need to be mindful of what we do and where we go in the remaining weeks of the year.” He noted that the reason the citizens are being advised to shun night and early morning movements is that they will be at the mercies of their assailants if being attacked as they will find it difficult to immediately get a response from security operatives at that time of the day.
He added that not even the passersby will attempt to rescue such victims as they also will be scared to come near as they cannot see to know what type of weapon the robbers wield. The Chief Security Officer, Cosams Securities, Mr. Sam Chukunulu, said the only way to ensure that the country is peaceful and calm is for the law enforcement agencies across the country to first of all recover all the looted non licensable guns by the hoodlums during the crisis, saying if such is not done the society will pay dearly for it.
“The law enforcement agents should be on top of their game because it’s normal to have pockets of crisis here and there after a violent protest and looting as the country experienced in the past three weeks. Anyway, they know what to do; it’s their job, so they know how to go about it,” he added.
He continued: “To understand what is brewing in Nigeria which has resulted in this call to be cautious, we have to go back to 2011 and the protests that kicked off the Libya crisis.
Libyans had grown tired and frustrated with living under a tightly controlled and corrupt dictatorship. “People had endured just over forty years of Muammer Gaddafi’s rule, which involved a quashed freedom of speech, a heavy and violent police state, and the squandering of wealth.
So, with protests breaking out in surrounding countries, the people decided enough was enough. “These protests quickly turned into a rebellion and a civil war between Gaddafi loyalists, and those who wished to oust his government. The UN Security Council froze Gaddafi’s assets and restricted his, and his inner circle’s, travel in February 2011, but the fighting would go on for several more months.
“This fighting also involved NATO military intervention, which bombed military sites but also collaterally civilian areas. But after all these protests and war, there has been one crime after another and that is because the frustration of the people has not been addressed.
“So, we fear that such will soon be happening in Nigeria except all the points that those youths in Nigeria and abroad dished out and demanded a U-turn to them, are achieved. We may expect silent ruthless killings and robberies throughout this period. We need to be careful right now.”
Recall that millions of youth protesters across the country took to the streets to seek an end to security operatives, especially SARS operatives’ history and culture of countless extortions, illegal arrests, extra-judicial killings, threats to life, fuelling conflict, running an organ theft syndicate from accusations of some citizens, escalating rather than resolving conflicts of all kinds.
Nigeria’s top police official on Saturday ordered the immediate mobilization of all officers to “reclaim the public space from criminal elements masquerading as protesters” after days of peaceful demonstrations over police abuses and then violent unrest that left at least 69 people dead.
The police order could further heighten tensions in Africa’s most populous country after its worst turmoil in years. Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, ordered colleagues to “dominate the public space” while announcing that “enough is enough.”
Nigerians on Tuesday evening watched in horror as soldiers fired on a peaceful crowd of mostly youthful demonstrators singing the national anthem in the country’s largest city, Lagos, with Amnesty International reporting at least 12 killed. Some dismayed Nigerians then criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for not mentioning the killings and instead warning citizens against “undermining national security.”
The government has insisted that the protests, while well-intentioned, were hijacked by thugs who looted and burned vehicles and businesses in two days after the soldiers opened fire. By not taking action against security forces, some Nigerians have warned, the president could inspire further abuses and worsen the insecurity situation in the country.