…says protest not a revolution yet
•Northern govs have no value for human life –Afenifere
Following the success recorded so far by the #ENDSARS protesters, one time head Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigeria Army, Major-General Ishola Williams (rtd), has charged organisers of the protests to ensure that they use the gains of the protests to ensure that a South Easterner of impeccable character occupies Aso Villa come May 2023.
Williams, in a reaction to the youths, who in nationwide protests against systemic rot, bad governance and police brutality otherwise called #ENDSARS, for 12 days took over Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Awka, Enugu and other cities in the country, were able to force government to disband the notorious Police unit, Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu to set up Special Weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT) in its place. Also, the protests are gaining traction every day even outside the shores of Nigeria.
The Federal Government has cued in with President Muhammadu Buhari promising to embark on a comprehensive reform of the Police. As an initial step, the FG Presidential Panel on Police Reforms acceded to the five-point demand of the protesters viz a viz halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of those arrested during the protests. Other demands included payment of compensation and the psychological evaluation of policemen, including increasing their salaries.
On whether the youths will displace the older politicians in 2023, Williams said: “It is too early to predict.” In his words: “A week or even a day can see game changing moves and actions in politics.
At the same time, February 18, 2023 is less than three years away; therefore it is time for the Southern youths to demonstrate solidarity in ensuring that an incorruptible South Easterner with incorruptible past, with the vision and mission occupies Aso Villa from May 2023, with a Vice President of the same character from the Middle Belt.”
Also, he said that they must do everything possible to get a Constitution of the Federation with a subsidiary cum parliamentary or hybrid system with proportional representation.
He said: “As a matter of urgency, we need a Security Sector Reform including the Nigerian Police which must be split into three separate parts of Mobile Paramilitary Force with a Commander and a Squadron in each State; a Crime intelligence and Criminal Investigation Agency with a DG and an IGP responsible for regulatory not command standards and training for state/local government policy only. You do not need SARS/ SWAT with this.”
Furthermore, he said: “The protest is yet to assume a status of a revolution as majority of the protesters are not for that because it is not a nationwide protest which has spread to other Northern states outside Abuja and cosmopolitan Kaduna. The Northern states are affected by more violent crimes including insurgency to think about any revolution. Even though the social infrastructure is improving fast, a lot of works needs to be done. Revolution has always consumed those who lead it with very few survivors if they succeed.”
Also weighing in, the pan Yoruba socio political organisation, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), through its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, described the rejection by governors of the 19 Northern states of the disbandment of SARS as unfortunate; even as he added that the Northern governors’ rejection is an indication of lack of value for human lives. Plateau State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, told State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, that the Police Unit has been useful in the fight against insecurity in the region.
“SARS is not made up of bad elements alone as it also includes personnel who are doing their work diligently,” he had said. “It is rather unfortunate that the governors could make a choice of extra judicial killings for their young ones.
It is not surprising that a lot of their young ones are enmeshed in Boko Haram which has ceased the peace of the country. If they have value for human lives, they should back the scrapping of SARS,” Odumakin added.