The #EndSARS movement is in the best interests of the police. The Nigerian youth struggle, not because they want an end to the police, but because they want to end police brutality. Why did the police at the Jos protest not realize this?
According to reports coming in from social media, the protests which took place in Jos, the Plateau State capital, in the wake of the #EndSARS movements, gradually got disrupted by police, who also reportedly assaulted a disc jockey at the protests, and went as far as firing live ammunition into the air to dispel the protesters.
Why were they shooting live rounds? Aside the common equipment used in crowd control (e.g. teargas, shields, batons), police are also expected to use rubber bullets in heated situations, rather than live bullets.
In the event of an uprising, such as a protest, demonstration, or riot, the police may be expected to shoot if the situation gets out of control, but not with live bullets. Why weren’t rubber bullets used? These are not riots or violent demonstrations. They are peaceful protests.
Perhaps Jimoh Isiaq would still be alive if the stray bullet that hit him and ended his life was made of rubber and not a live round.
Perhaps several of the other youths who are unfortunately no longer with us today would still be here if the possibility of using rubber bullets instead of live ammunition had been considered.
The police seem not to realize one thing: the protests are for them, not against them.
The #EndSARS protesters, as well as the Nigerian youths in general, are not on the streets because they want to hang out.
They’re not on the streets simply because they’re looking to have a good time. They’re not on the streets because of the agitation for better living for themselves only.
They’re also fighting for the police!
They’re protesting because they want there to be an end to police brutality; not to policing in Nigeria. Police and police brutality are two different things.
They’re fighting so that the standards of living for the police can also be improved, in terms of better salaries, better work packages, insurances in terms of health, vehicular, and life.
Look at the story of a traffic warden the other day who, as reports have it, saw some youths approaching his post and wanted to run, anticipating some violence against him, but he was immediately provided with food, drinks.
He was assured that his devotion to his duty was not going unnoticed; they saw the work he did. Reports have it that, after such kind gestures from the youth, he cried.
That’s the point of the #EndSARS protest. Against police brutality, not the police who dutifully and diligently do their jobs.
So, the issue for the youth is not the police in particular, but the continued acts of wanton brutality and aggression, even after the government announced the disbandment of the SARS unit.
As for those of the police force, who remain devoted to service, who do not perform acts of brutality against the youth, their diligence and dedication have not gone unnoticed.
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