October 31, 2020

Demonstrators gesture during a protest over alleged police brutality, in Lagos, Nigeria October 14, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

And the protest is on!

Suddenly we woke up to be greeted with #Endsars protests which has engulfed the entire length and breadth of the Nigerian state.

As a trained philosopher, I have not been surprised by the protests which has literarily crippled the country. In fact to me it is long overdue.

I have told some people that Nigeria is a scam. And I mean it, Nigeria is a very big fraud and what we have as government here can best be described as an organized brigandage.

We have never had it so bad before. This current government seems to derive limitless joy in punishing the citizens with anti people and vicious policies that sniff life out of the people.

If it is not increasing the pump price of fuel, it is increasing electricity tariff. Perhaps I will not forget in a hurry the fraudulent stamp duty being charged on our bank accounts needlessly.

Then if you are fortunate to survive these named wicked policies, you are faced with the IPPIS if you are a federal civil servant. Government will hopelessly slash your salary beyond human comprehension and you will go home with peanut every month.

You will be coerced to keep quiet since you are a civil servant and must serve in obedience. Nigeria we hail thee!

And you are faced with law enforcement agencies that are so ill motivated. They are hopelessly ill treated and at the same time government expects them to protect the country and her citizens. Now how do they protect you and I?

They become tax collectors on our roads. Both the army, Police, Road Safety, Customs and Civil Defence are neck deep into this illegal collection of money on our highways.

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They do this openly and albeit shamelessly and brazenly. I watch this drama play out each time I travel on our highways and I see hopelessness in our country on regular basis.

Our law enforcement agents will collect money from innocent and helpless motorists with careless abandon. They even give ‘change’ to those drivers who do not have the correct denomination to give to them.

Sometimes they employ the services of innocent youths who collect these monies on their behalf. Please hold your breadth. Wait a minute! We are fighting corruption. Don’t rock the boat.

Now to address the issue on ground, the youths who are on the streets and the highways are making a definite and declarative statement. Simply put we are tired of police brutality.

Enough of police molestations of all types. They are also saying enough of this rudderless government. This government has no sense of direction. Every government is purpose driven.

This government has no purpose. Nigeria is on auto run. If you disagree with this assertion, tell me who is in charge here. When a government thrives on impunity, then it has lost its way.

It has also lost its vision but permit me to say that this current government had no vision ab initio. This government has lost its way. A government that gave out 600 billion Naira as palliatives to citizens during the height of the corona virus pandemic without anyone acknowledging ever receiving such a largesse should be feared. Yes and I mean it.

Remember they continued with the ‘benevolent’ school feeding programme even when schools were under lock and key due to the pandemic. Recently it was revealed that some of the monies meant for the school feeding programme were found in private bank accounts amounting to billions of Naira.

Please don’t start grumbling. Remember we are fighting corruption. The fight is at its critical stage. Why do we keep awarding road contracts in this country when our roads have become serious death traps?

We must give account of the various crimes against humanity committed in this country in the fraudulent name of governance. The current protests is just a preamble.

The days of reckoning are coming. We pray let it come in a jiffy. May God spare our lives to see better days here. We have suffered enough!

Dr Godwin Okaneme
Department of Philosophy
University of Abuja

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