Planned Nationwide Protest: Nigerian Security Operatives - shameless pawns in hands of criminal elements in Abuja

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I just read mouth agape with incredulity about the police warning against planned protest scheduled for February 5 and 6 by Nigerian popular singer Mr. Innocent Idibia aka Tuface.

In advanced societies protest remains the only way to send messages to the elected representatives. Those who hold elective posts are supposedly answerable to the electorates and the only way to reach them is via protests when a particular policy becomes unpopular with the people especially if it is such that brings hardship to the citizenry.

There is no denying the fact today that the APC-led government has failed Nigerians who now wish a return to the good old days when the former ruling party held sway. Life then was much better with food aplenty to eat but today the reverse has become the case with prices of goods, services, and food skyrocketing with every passing day.

 Food is no more available in the Nigerian markets and wherever it is available the cost is prohibitive thus making it well-nigh impossible to live in that part of the globe. The resultant effect is crimes of varying degrees particularly violent ones.

The best way to react to the obviously sad situation in advanced societies is to embark on a protest, government's reaction to such planned protests is to provide security and send representatives to the venue and listen to the peoples' grievances.

I am compelled to write this piece in reaction to what I just read in the dailies that the Police in Abuja has issued a statement warning Tuface against the planned protest or face the full wrath of the law.

Wait a minute! Is that report true? If yes, who in the world gave the warning? Who is to do whose bidding? Is the people of Nigeria who elected a government which the police as an institution is answerable to or the police to do the peoples' bidding? This sickens me to the stomach in no small measure.

Over here in Europe and indeed in other advanced societies, there is no legislation against protest when the people have grievances to tender. No! I have never seen it happen anywhere! That is the only way the people can communicate their grievances to the powers-that-be especially as things continue to deteriorate marvelously as it is in Nigeria today.

There is frustration in the faces of many helpless Nigerians as a result of the ineptitude and sheer incompetence of the government of the day. Everything has nose-dived abysmally and has, in fact, assumed an alarming crescendo with many homes broken and torn apart.

Suicide hitherto unknown in Nigeria has taken the centre stage with no hope in sight that things will ever get better as major economic policies continue to fail marvelously coupled with damning reports from supranational institutions such as IMF, ADB and the UNICEF.

Under the existing circumstances, the best way to register one's displeasure is to put the government to a serious task and this is best done via protest to make their representatives sit up as it is done in the civilized world.

The aggrieved and pauperized citizenry have neither resorted to violence or arms struggle but a simple protest to get the attention of their representatives yet the regime in Abuja is reportedly saying 'NO' and have in fact rounded plans to deploy tanks and guns in the streets like in totalitarian regimes  to bar Nigerians from protesting against the ills of the day which is their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

I wish to call the regime in Abuja to order through this medium that they are not lording over animals but civilized Homo Sapiens and that totalitarianism is no more fashionable does not exist again anywhere under the sun.

The Executive Order on travel ban signed by President trump which did not go down well with many Americans sparked off a mass protest and American security forces did not roll out military tanks to subdue the people and was eventually upturned today by a federal judge.

It is the right of Nigerians to protest the hard times and Buhari and his men should be told in no uncertain terms that Nigeria is now practising a constitutional democracy and could never be hushed into silence or subdued by force of arms.

When the former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida was in power Nigerians came en masse to demonstrate against the Structural Adjustment Programme of that regime.

It is time Nigeria learned, toed the line of the advanced world and respected civil rights. Security agencies must not allow themselves to be used as pawns by a few disgruntled criminal elements in Abuja simply because money has changed hands to the detriment of the hoi polloi.

I say yet again, it is high time the Police headquarters in Abuja reversed their statement and allowed the planned protests to hold to enable the aggrieved citizenry speak to their elected representatives. Anything short of this without doubt breeds or prepares ground for an imminent civil revolution.

All in all, it is a thousand pities that Nigerian security operatives have shamelessly become willing pawns in the hands of criminal elements in Abuja who are bent solely on personal aggrandizement and this ought not to be after all.

*Iyoha John Darlington, a social activist, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues wrote from Turin, Italy.

*Original post appeared first on the DailyGlobeWatch
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