Power intoxicates men. When a man is intoxicated by alcohol, he can recover, but when intoxicated by power, he seldom recovers (James F. Byrnes). This is what we are seeing from the recent destruction of public and private properties perpetuated by government-sponsored thugs even after they have performed their hired tasked of disrupting the peaceful #EndSARS protest. Attributing the destruction of properties that ensued after the Lekki massacre on Tuesday 20th October 2020 on the hired thugs only, will be unfair to them, but I believe their politically sponsored task of infusing violence into the peaceful protest had a ripple effect, hence, the looting, destruction and burning of properties and vehicles that ensued by hoodlums also.
On October 3rd, a viral video of SARS officers killing a young man in Delta state and carting away with his vehicle, sparked a protest online as Nigerians took to social media as the hashtag #EndSARS trends on Twitter and were supported by celebrities across Nigeria. Pained and angered by the inactions of the Federal government years passed to control the activities of this notorious arm of the Nigerian police force that commits of forms of atrocities with impunity, Nigerians decided to take to the streets to express their displeasure and there were demonstrations across major cities against the death of the young man killed on October 3rd and for the scrapping of SARS and police reforms across Nigeria.
Pressured by the increasing number of youths taking part in the peaceful protest, the Inspector general of police on October 8th, announced that the notorious arm of the Nigerian police force, SARS, has been disbanded and will be deployed to other units of the police force and he also announced the creation of another force called Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), a decision which didn’t go down well with the protesters. How can you put spoiled eggs into a crate of fresh eggs? However, the protesters felt the need for the disbandment to come from the president himself, hence, the protest continued and scaled to not only scrapping of SARS but also against bad government, humongous legislators’ salaries, some of whom who have been caught sleeping during sittings, poor healthcare, no electricity, poor educational system, infrastructural decays and so many basic things that ought to have been provided by our leaders which they didn’t, but receive allocations for every year.
Devoured of ethnic, tribal and religious differences, the youth stayed focused on their course and this surprised the entire world. In a normal society, such unity would have been harnessed to foster growth, considering that division impedes growth in a society, but instead the Nigerian government saw the unity amongst the youths as a threat to them because they usually use ethnic and religious differences to create division in Nigeria, just to satisfy their selfish and wicked ambitions. Many attempts to get a leader from the protesters whom they can buy over as it has been the case of so many protests all proved abortive. The youths were educated enough to know that “few pennies now from the wicked politicians is not worth the future of a better Nigeria”. To instigate division and violence into the peaceful protest, our shameful government and power monger politicians decided to use thugs who think only of a Nigerian now, rather than a Nigeria of the future, to create violence and disrupt the protest.
Government ought to have known better not to use thugs, but they used them anyway. When a man is obsessed with power, he/she will do anything to maintain that seat of power without minding the consequences thereafter. That was what the federal government did, by sponsoring thugs and carrying them about in government official vehicles just to disrupt the peaceful protest. Like a popular celebrity (Alexx Ekubo) put it “using one of us to fight us, so as to blame all of us”, and by “Us”, he was referring to the youths. Behold the government’s plan worked perfectly and soldiers were sent in to quell the so-called violent #EndSARS protest, violence which was orchestrated by the Nigerian government. As always, these thugs will be abandoned by the so-called politicians after using them to achieve their malicious plans. Wait, were the thugs thinking they will be integrated into different government positions after carrying out these nefarious acts? No way! The government will just use and abandon you, dear thugs. Then the question I ask is; why sell your future for a penny? The answer is simple. An uneducated person does not know the value of his/her future. This wicked government knows that and that is why they keep using the uneducated(thugs) to perpetuate their selfish plans.
You do not give a lion raw flesh today and refuse to give it the next day and expect the lion not to eat your child at home. Definitely, the lion will eat your child and one day it might even eat you. This is peculiar to the Nigerian government and our evil politicians. You give these thugs a taste of power and later you abandon them in the cold and expect them not to continue with violence. You must be a joker. Why then do you complain of kidnapping, banditry, arm robbery in the country while you (our so-called leaders) are the architects of all these? You give thugs weapons during elections just to force your way into power and expect them not use these same weapons to unleash terror in the country when they are left to their fate? My only problem is that majority of the people that suffer are the poor and innocent Nigerians who do not have uniform men protecting them wherever they go. You did it during election and violence ensued and then you do it again during a peaceful protest? The question I ask is “why have our leaders chosen to be the second fool?” Well, I forgot Nigerians are dealing with leaders intoxicated by power, with no iota of shame in them.
Carrying thugs holding machetes and sticks in luxurious buses and black SUVs in the Federal capital territory(FCT) in full view of everyone will always have a repercussion effect. What that does is, it gives many deprived angry thugs who have been looking for an opportunity to unleash their frustration, the wings to burn places down and loot properties. They will say to themselves, if other thugs have the liberty to carry out their sponsored task with impunity, therefore we can as well burn public and private properties and loot people’s shops with impunity also. Its high time the government and our self-centric politicians stop using thugs to perpetuate their malicious acts and try to follow due process in doing things. Mind you the 2023 elections is around the corner, and Nigerian youths are not sleeping any more. Please do not give the uneducated ones (thugs) an opportunity to burn down the country because the second wave of destruction might get to you and remember to treat every Nigerian as one. For “no Nigerian is more Nigeria than any Nigerian” (Aisha Yesufu).