Date: 26th October 2020
Guest: Yiaga Africa (@YIAGA)
TRIGGER & BACKGROUND
Police Brutality can be historically traced to colonial era where police officers were recruited to protect and serve the interest of colonial masters. This has transcend to police officers seeing themselves as tool to protect political ruling class. his then degenerated into the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) attacking innocent citizens and extorting them in the guise of anti-robbery and cyber-crime operations.
For the last two weeks, Nigerian citizens have been protesting police brutality. The SARS police force has continued to abused their power and kill citizens. The protest which started on Social media saw #ENDSARS & #PoliceBrutality trending globally. Kenya as a country has been affected by police brutality before, thus we had a discussion to understand what was happening in Nigeria.
The role of young people to the course, Young people have been at the forefront of the campaign as they are the most affected by police brutality. Role of young people has been instrumental in ensuring the issue remains at the front burner. From trending the #EndSARS on social media, to leading protests on the streets, to leading negotiations and developing demands, youths have played a leading role in the campaign. The judicial panel of enquiry has set up across states to hear the cases of arrests that have been happening and provide recommendations. CSOs have been vocal in speaking against police brutality in Nigeria. There have been several calls for prosecution of officers. However, there has not been substantial information on the said petition. It is expected that the judicial panel of enquiry will address violation of human rights and justice for victims of police brutality.
The clamor for voter education shows that citizens are ready to be part of the decision making that affects them by at least getting registered to vote and making a right choice. This is simply a pointer that the #EndSARS campaign can serve as a springboard for electoral reform, citizen participation and push for better governance in Nigeria. Civil Society Organization, can contribute to ensuring citizens political participation in different capacities. First, ensuring young people who make up a higher percentage of population to participate in decision making process either as voters or candidates. An important lesson to learn is that, first, Police exist police to protect the people and security agents must undergo effective psychological training on how to manage citizens. Also, government in other countries must prioritize police welfare to prevent extortion of citizens. Lastly on fake news, It is not enough to share information because everyone is talking about it, it is essential to dig deeper. This is what we usually advise especially in times when fake news is rife.
Compiled by Niceta Nyaga – Comms Team