In the wake of the #EndSARS protest where millions of young Nigerians across the globe have unanimously called for the dissolution of the rogue Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police Force, Connected Development (CODE), hereby demands that the Nigerian Government awakes to its fundamental obligation of securing the lives and property of its citizenry.
Nigerians have long battled the menace of dire brazen security challenges—ranging from Boko Haram insurgency to Farmer-Herders clash, spate of sexual and gender-based violence and the menace of the rogue police unit. Actions to combat these security conditions have been inconsequential compared to the magnitude of attacks and chaos in their wake. With corruption entrenched in the sector, sustaining an effective and efficient security policy continues to be a far-cry.
The challenges threatening the sovereignty of the country are enormous; now is not the time for President Muhammadu Buhari to be verbose. Youths are being hunted and killed unjustly; families are displaced; livelihoods are destroyed, human rights are violated Nigerians deserve stability, security and an improved quality of life.
It is no news that the security sector is highly politicised and has since become a tool of government coercion —with journalists and civil society members being unlawfully detained. The constitutional rights of the Nigerian citizen have consistently been infringed, disrespected and people now live in fear—depicting a total mockery of our democracy.
The Nigerian leadership must seize this opportunity to walk the talk and drive a much-needed security sector reform. It is not enough to merely dissolve the unit of the Nigerian Police; CODE demands that perpetrators of the police/SARS brutality and extrajudicial killings face the wrath of the law and are held accountable, especially leading up to those peaceful protesters who were either shot or killed during this recent protest. There must also be a thorough investigation into all alleged SARS-induced disappearances & killings.
The embodiment of the Security force must rethink the lame strategy of overburdening security agencies and vigilante groups and invest in adequate training and capacity building. This will reduce overhead and operational costs, efficiently improve the security expenditure and expose the inherent corruption in the system. The apparent lack of transparency and opaque budget and procurement practices in the management and utilization of security funds in Nigeria has contributed to its operational shortcomings and frequent misconduct.
It is quite unfortunate that the President has not displayed the political will and courage to remedy these problems. He should seize this opportunity to win back citizens’ trust.
We commend the thousands of Nigerian Youth that took to the streets over the weekend to protest and decry alarming police brutality, assaults and wanton killing of young unassuming Nigerians by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. This shows that when advocacy is intentional and our voice is unified, citizens have the ability to spur the change we need to see. Nigerians should not be silent in the face of injustice but must continue to speak against it.
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