In recent times, Nigeria has had quite a number of protests, with youth activists, civil groups and secessionists taking to the streets to voice their opinion and express their anger against government’s injustice, insecurities, policies and police brutality.
The ENDSARS protest, which was tagged the mother of all protests can’t be forgotten so soon. Happenings on the 10th October 2020 still remains an unsolved debacle, as the alleged massacre that occurred at the Lekki toll gate is still fresh in the heart of many, with lots of unanswered questions.
However, since the ENDSARS protest the government has applied heavy force in dismantling any form of protest gatherings in parts of the country. The June 12 rally against bad governance was met with strict resistance by the Nigerian Force.
This then brings us to the question;
is it still the citizen’s fundamental right to protest?
Isn’t it the job of the police force to ensure security of life’s and properties at protest ground?
However, it is alarming that protests in this part of the world must always have traces and elements of brutality, and sometimes protesters or normal citizens going about their daily life are been made to pay the ultimate price which is death.
The just concluded Yoruba Nation Mega Rally didn’t end without these elements, as protesters were teargassed, water cannons were deployed, live shots were fired and a lady identified as Jumoke was alleged to have been hit and killed by a stray bullet fired by the police.
The lady was said to be hawking soft drinks at the rally ground when she was hit by a stray bullet, and her lifeless body was taken by men of the Nigerian Police Force.
The Lagos Police Command, has however denied the killing, labeling the news in circulation as fake news, according to the police report that no live rounds were fired at the protest venue.
The protest incident has once again showed the unruly pattern the Nigerian government uses to disperse peaceful protesters; the unnecessary show of force on the citizenry. The victims body which was alleged to have been whisked away by security operatives is reminiscent of happenings at the Lekki Toll Gate, where security operatives were alleged to have killed protesters and their bodies taken away.
It is imperative to remind the Federal Government and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari about his oath to protect the citizenry at all cost.
This is a trend we shouldn’t be following as an acclaimed giant of Africa, the government should ensure citizens fundamental rights are protected. This sad precedence shouldn’t be a standard for a country that boasts of a thriving democracy in Africa.
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Abejide Abayomi is a Communication graduate, who has carved for himself a great niche for writing and crisis management and Content Creator with vast PR experience