THAT Nigeria is in dilemma is just stating the obvious going by the aftermath of the #EndSARS nation-wide protests. The Nigeria Police developed goose pimples to their work to the level of saying it openly. They now state openly that they cannot help Nigerians even during the yuletide. But this is very unfortunate.
The way most cops flea upon beholding hordes of the surging and rampaging youths who dared them with gusto contributed to the casualties as the mob easily overpowered some of them. In instances where the police over-powered some of them led to high fatalities of monumental proportion from both sides.
NIGERIANS, including the law enforcement agents least expected such spontaneous mobilisation and revulsion from the youths. The overwhelming force of ordinary citizens was such that in the aftermath, the Nigeria Police have been reluctant to go back to their beats after witnessing the killings of their colleagues and mass destruction of police stations and property in various parts of the country.
A DEPUTY Superintendent of Police and Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in a joint meeting of law enforcement agents over the weekend, told some journalists that Nigerians should rather find a way to protect themselves from thugs, hoodlums and miscreants during the yuletide.
THE meeting disclosed and analysed how violent assaults on innocent security personnel during the #EndSARS protest significantly dampened the morale of many of the servicemen and women.
“IN THESE ember months and up to Christmas period and New Year, I doubt if any of the security services can guarantee maximum security as usual. There is no way we can discharge our statutory responsibilities and function when we have become soft targets of miscreants and violent persons,” the DPO said.
HE SAID that it would be insensitive to any of his officers and men to be drafted to life- threatening beats and assignments given the perceived hostility to police this period.
THE trauma and exasperation is quite understandable going by the fact that their damaged offices and vandalised equipment and operational equipment are yet to be replaced. And not many states are like Anambra that has spelt out clear plans to help the police out of this her challenging moment.
However, the idea of covertly telling innocent Nigerians that criminals may be free to roam during Christmas and New Year comes across as blackmail and indecent attempt to get the people to feel guilty of what they should feel guilty about which is unacceptable.
THIS is a very odd development given that strategically, whichever way the aftermath of the #EnsSARS protests goes, the police are likely the beneficiaries. They are the ones who will benefit if there is total reform in the police; and if the salaries are increased which is part of the demands of the protesters and if it turns out to be business as usual and nothing changes. After all, the Inspector General of Police ( IGP) on Friday, gave them directives to go back to their duties and protect themselves against any attack by hoodlums.
AS A matter of fact, what the police is saying by not guaranteeing safety during the yuletide is that we are all going to bear the brunt as the protest has made it impossible for them to give legal protection to the people, forgetting that it is their responsibility to ensure safety of citizens no matter the odds.
IN AS much as we condemn in its totality, the acts of arson, looting and destruction of public facility, individual’s property, wanton looting and killing of police officers and men, we view it as a more condemnable offense for the police to leave the society to suffer the acts of hoodlums, thieves and criminals because going by their trainings and nature of their duties, they should have foreseen, preempted and forestalled the protests through their watchdog roles. Of course, it is the duty of police detectives to go into society and snip budding tendencies that will rankle the society before they happen or throw the society into confusion.
THE yuletide therefore offers them the opportunity to redeem their image by reclaiming the social space through their conducts.
IT IS equally very important for the larger society, comprising governments, judiciary, the youth and the rest of us to work together to ensure that such wanton destruction of lives and public property never happen again.
Given this dire needs, all stakeholders should ensure that the problems that led to the recent protests never ensues. Notable among factors that the recent street actions brought to the fore are the abuse of human rights of innocent citizens, the abuse and illegal use of guns and ammunition, law enforcement agents’ tendencies to resort to undue processes in pursuing cases and disregard for the need to win trust of citizens.
LAW enforcement agencies and the larger security system of Nigeria should ensure that this never happens again. If the police as the most cited organisation in the unfortunate days of street frenzy which no one should wish back on Nigeria, notes these factors and work hard to expunge them from their system, they would win back the trust of the citizens.
Given this, there is also a need for government agencies and governments to show sincerity and visible attempts to address the relevant requests of the youths that are genuine protesters and ensure that they do not feel that they have been manipulated out of the streets and their yearnings. Such mindset may lure protests back.
THE judicial panels constituted in various states should bestir themselves to ensure that all the facts of the cases tabled at the tribunal are clinically treated and justice served to the aggrieved.
WE URGE a commitment to policies and programmes that will help Nigerian youths seek opportunities like their contemporaries around the world, even as we call for financial incentives to startups and businesses as well as encouragement and commitment to ease of doing business across states in the federation.
THE youth equally need to understand that building an egalitarian and advanced society is the responsibility of all. The young and old should all commit themselves never to let this experience of wanton destruction of lives and property happen again.
NATIONAL Light believes that instead of shying away from their responsibilities, particularly this seasonal period, the Police and security agencies should know that it will be a big disservice to themselves and society by letting criminals run rampage this season.