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Ikeja district of Lagos: Daily Life returns after Protests Ikeja district of Lagos: Daily Life returns after Protests  (ANSA)

#SARS protests: We need more in-depth conversations and reforms

Nigeria’s Bishop Badejo says the disbanding of the infamous SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force, though welcome, should be the start of more in-depth conversations and far-reaching reforms.

English Africa Service – Vatican City.

The Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that what was happening, in response to the #ENDSARS protests of the youths in the country, was like “first aid” -to buy time. He has since urged the Federal Government to address a much larger problem, with sincerity.

“Maybe we should all be having an ‘#End Corruption’ Or ‘#End Sectionalism,’… protest marches. The problem to comprehensively address is: What kind of institution (in this case, the police) system of governance, or federal structure and even society gave birth to such a monster and try to address it sincerely. You may scrap SARS, but the deficient and ailing structure will generate other such Frankenstein monsters,” Bishop Badejo declared.

Oppressive institutions need to be reformed

While noting that the challenges of the country go beyond the SARS Police unit, Bishop Badejo stressed the need for the total restructuring of the country’s police force, some government agencies as well as the country’s governance structures.

“The call for the reform of the entire police force makes sense. But then you can stretch it further and show me how many institutions of governance in Nigeria or even the civil service are free of blame with respect to oppressing citizens and taking them for granted,” wondered Bishop Badejo.

Criminality thrives in the absence of the rule of law

The Bishop added, “Wherever the rule of law has been made comatose, the ground becomes fertile for banditry and criminality even among highly trained officers and citizens. That, am afraid, might be very appropriate about Nigeria, our country,” said the Bishop of Oyo

Bishop Badejo further noted that the recent protests were necessary though unfortunately, later hijacked by elements who were bent on destroying property and causing anarchy.

Pent-up anger

“The protest in itself is good, especially as we seemed to have an unresponsive government which now seems to have been forced awake. However, I support concerns that the protests were infiltrated, if not hijacked by devious people who have no clear idea what a protest should be like and who really don’t care. They just want to destroy,” Bishop Badejo said.

Bishop Badejo continued, “This, however, is because there has been so much pent up anger against so many occurrences in the country that many people are not ready to reason with anybody. All they want is an opportunity to lash out in vengeful action. This is not good for our nation. I have said it severally that we all, not just the youth, must take responsibility for demanding accountability from our government institutions and politicians, not just the police.”

Protests must end in negotiation and dialogue

“Let the government deploy all legitimate means to secure dialogue. I like what the Governors of Lagos and Oyo are doing with as much openness as possible. That is a good model to follow in all our institutions. Name names, take action to assuage hurts, and bring the guilty to book,” said Bishop Badejo.

(Source: CNSNg.org)

27 October 2020, 17:09