End SARS, Stop Police Brutality and Reform The Nigerian Police Force
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Nigeria is one of the few countries where youths occupy the majority of the population.
Growing up in the country, our parents, teachers and elders taught us that youths are the leaders of tomorrow. We are the future. A future that seems very dark and uncertain.
The Nigerian Police Force do not exactly have a stellar record when it comes to doing their jobs. They intimidate, harass and embarrass young people at the slightest provocation. Sometimes even without provocation at all. But we endured because Nigerians are resilient, adaptable and can survive the harshest conditions.
The NPF formed a unit that would curb the rising threats of armed robberies. Their major goal was to limit the level of gun violence in the country. Although they mostly achieved their goal, but it was done through inhumane ways. At a time, we did not complain because we thought the abuses would stop.
In recent years, The Special Anti Robery Squad began the task of invading the privacy of tax paying citizens by checking their phones even without consent. If and when a citizen protests, he/she is beaten up at best, at worst, he/she is shot in cold blood.
We didn't make the country this way. We are just living in it. An average Nigerian youth does not wake up in the morning without fear of getting shot or harassed by the police.
A student whose sole goal is to pass through school, with grades that him and his parents would be proud of, cannot concentrate because he is afraid of SARS.
We've become accustomed to statements like "stop there or I will finish your life", "you stupid criminal, I will waste you". And all for what? Money? A sense of superiority?
Nine of ten Nigerians have had an unpleasant experience with the police. I commend you if you have managed to stay out of their radar but don't be surprised if you get caught up in their web one of these days.
There's a funny statement we've all come to know as a joke: "Police is your friend". The only way that this statement can be further from the truth is if it was in another galaxy. Does your friend slap you? Harass you? Aim a gun at your face? Threaten to "waste" you?
My personal experiences with the police are enough to start my own TV show. But where will it all end?
The Inspector General of police announced his new measures to reform SARS. His actions are commendable but when has Policemen ever listened to their IG in Nigeria?
We've been hearing that bail is free for the past 20 years and I've never known or seen a person walk out of jail without paying some sort of money. But that's just me.
The lives of the youths, people that are considered the future, have been reduced to nothing. Policemen are free to stomp on a citizen who they think is guilty. They have become Judge and executioner, declaring you guilty on the spot.
The government we voted for ignores our cries and pleas. I hope this petition gets to them somehow and shows them that we are not animals.
I deliberately decided not to state ways the government can reform the police force. They have experts for that. My hope is to try to raise my voice against injustice.
Like a very wise man once said "The only way evil can succeed is for good men to do nothing"
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