The protesting Nigerian youth is a sitting time bomb.
I type with trembling hands. These are trying times indeed.
This morning I saw a troop of angry protesters march through town demanding end to police brutality. Since its inception last week, the national protests had gained momentum. For days now the Nigerian youth protested in cities and villages, and everywhere you could find them. The government had ignored them for long, and now they want things to change. I mean to change for good. I hope.
It’s common to witness police brutality in Nigeria. Well, everyone thinks that the uniform of the armed forces grants ultimate power. The police are involved in extortion, extra-judicial killings, bribery and all manner of corruption; this is the unfortunate reality we live in. Worst, they are like puppets in the hands of the government which use them as they chose, especially during elections. I’m particularly annoyed with the extortion of bus drivers – this I have witnessed since I was a child. The roadblocks on our highways and other roads are their markets. This doesn’t paint our law enforcement or the nation right.
In some parts of Lagos and Abuja, protests turned violent. Reports of cars being set ablaze, of wounded or killed people, looting, make the coming days look gloomy. In Benin city, videos of prison breaks fill Nigeria’s social media space. In some videos, I saw crying prisoners, thankful for freedom, some police stations burning and of course, hoodlums who took this as an opportunity to rob innocent people. So I’m worried about many things. I’m concerned about the future of my country and about the gunshots I hear in my backyard.
Recently the army planned to resume the Operation Crocodile Smile, the second. I hope these smiling crocs do not stray into hot boiling water.
What the Youth Demand
All the youth demand is police reforms and an end to bad governance. Yes, and gainful employment, plus the provision of essential social goods. We buy water and electricity, while in some countries these are free. I had another thought: if the protesters had a good job, no one would have time to protest. Nigeria’s leaders must be informed again that Nigeria belongs to everyone and resources for all Nigerians.
Will the government and her army play this game? Will they molest and intimidate peaceful protesters? To our dear, highly respected armed forces note that the youth is not antagonistic towards you. We are just demanding a better future – one that includes you, the youthful soldier and your generations born and unborn. A word is enough for the wise.
I’m a worried Nigerian youth.