Mesut Özil, a midfielder with Arsenal Football Club of London, has declared support for the #EndSARS protests ongoing across Nigeria.
Nigerians are protesting for a fifth day, calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force notorious for rights violations.
Tweeting in support of the agitation on Sunday, Ozil said, “Horrible to hear what’s been going on in Nigeria. Let’s make this a trending topic everywhere #EndSARS – My thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected. #EndPoliceBrutality.”
Horrible to hear whatâs been going on in Nigeria. Let’s make this a trending topic everywhere â¶ï¸ #EndSARS – My thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected. ð³ð¬ð #EndPoliceBrutality
The governor noted that the ongoing nationwide #ENDSARS protest was a “strong indicator of a systemic failure”, and also showed the failure of the police in carrying out their duties of protecting the people.
It again calls into question why State Governors are called Chief Security Officers of their state whereas, they do not have the necessary powers to control the police force.
Peaceful protests are a big part of our democratic process. The right to freedom of speech and assembly are guaranteed by our Constitution, and I will never support any attempt to rob citizens of their fundamental human rights.
The most implausible and almost unbelievable reaction amidst the growing #ENDSARS protest across the country is how Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected to take charge of the security of the citizens has managed to maintain a loud, unbothered and undisturbed silence through it all.
Asides from the fact that the constitution is clear that the security and welfare of the citizens shall be the fundamental priority of every government, #ENDSARS is a protest against the pattern of abuse, impunity and clear disregard for human lives by the SARS operatives that citizens have had to endure for many years.
In a typical George Floyd manner, the Nigeria Police particularly members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad popularly known as SARS have had their feet on our necks far too long as citizens, so much that we can longer breathe! I reckon with senior journalist and author Olusegun Adeniyi when he described these elements as assassins in police uniform, they do not only maim, they kill and destroy!
It is incomprehensible that the same people who have been commissioned to protect and preserve the people, are the ones who now kill, kidnap, extort and dehumanize citizens for fun in clear disregard for human rights and other standard operating procedures.
Almost everywhere you turn, young Nigerian have one unsavoury or almost near-death experience of police brutality, harassment and violation of their rights as citizens. Since it is only those who make it alive including this writer, who can recount their experience, but what about the hundreds of people who have been killed and the families who have been thrown into mourning and eternal loss.
Here I am reminded of the gruesome death of Tiamiyu Kazeem a footballer with Remo Stars who was killed in February 2020 and many others who have been either reported and even unreported. The deaths have become one too many, that we now ask ourselves who is next? A situation that underscores a clear failure of leadership that is inexcusable.
Here, I am asking how a tactical squad within the police institution got to a level where they have become the menace, they were set up to curb and address. I think that speaks more about the culture of impunity and lack of consequence for action which has become the hallmark of our police institution. Rogues Police elements often get away with even the most egregious abuse and violation
What is most condemnable is the stereotyping and profiling of Nigerian youths by these rogue officers, so much that you are unlikely to escape their sting once you are seen with an I-phone, wearing dreadlocks or even using an exotic car. They also indiscriminately search phones, Laptops and other gadgets of young Nigerians who are going about their lives lawfully without recourse to any known law. But just to be clear, the obsession of SARS operatives with cyber crime is the purview of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission!
I am inspired by the resilience of Nigerian youths, particularly everyone who has joined one protest or the other to occupy the streets to call for an end to this notorious unit within the police, just like I have said in previous writings, Nigerian youths can be the pushback generation that says Enough is Enough. With the #ENDSARS we have done that resoundingly!
We must be weary not to lose sight or be carried away by fake promises, like the one in the terse press releases we have seen earlier in the week like the ones before this one, until we see concrete action, our agitation and demands will endure for an end to SARS which is by extension an end to police brutality and all forms of extra judicial killings.
I am however disturbed by the attack on innocent young Nigerians who are protesting for an end to the extra judicial killings by SARS , we have heard of such attacks in Abuja, Delta, Lagos among other places, again the attack on innocent Nigerians by the police underscores the demand for radical change in our policing system.
This is long overdue, our policing system has a questionable foundation, there is an urgent need to overhaul the system to be civil in its processes and inspire the confidence of our people. Never again must any Nigerian be violated, harassed, intimidated or killed!
The message is clear, we demand an end to SARS now, our lives matter!
Governorship Candidate of Zenith Labour Party and deputy governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, has won his polling unit.
Agboola polled 395 votes to defeat candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Rotimi Akeredolu, and Peoples Democratic Party’s Eyitayo Jegede, who scored 13 and five votes respectively.
The ZLP candidate voted at 10:30am at Polling Unit 04, Ward 2 in Kiribo community, Ese-Odo Local Government Area.
He had alleged that security operatives refused to act when someone not a member of his polling unit was canvassing votes for Akeredolu.
He said, “I observed that the turnout was very encouraging but I want to also say it the way we have seen it here that the security arrangement is bit compromised. It was exactly what happened in Edo State.
“We want to appeal to security agents to live up to expectation and continue to be neutral, to ensure that every Nigerian’s vote counts. I just received a call that a senior militant in this country, Chief Ajube, who is not a member of this community had laid siege somewhere, telling the people to vote for APC and securitymen are there watching him.”
Sixty years ago, this week, Ambassador Joseph Palmer II presented his credentials as the first United States Ambassador to the Government of Nigeria. The occasion presents the opportunity to reflect on the breadth and depth of the partnership between our two great nations, each evolving democratically, over the intervening decades. In his welcome address to the people of Nigeria, President Dwight D. Eisenhower embraced the wishes of a people who cherished individual liberty and independence as we recognized the assumption of Nigeria to its sovereign place in the world community.
Considering these remarks, I have delighted in spending some time taking stock of just how far our relationship has come. Reflecting on President Eisenhower’s recognition of our mutual priorities in global health, economic prosperity and above all else a democratic way of life, I am struck by the continuity of interests in our bilateral relationship. Still, Eisenhower could have never imagined the challenges a pandemic like COVID-19 would pose. We laud and respect the vigilance adopted by the government and people of Nigeria to close borders, restrict public gatherings and to adopt public health recommendations.
Over the past twenty years the United States has invested $8.1 billion in foreign assistance in Nigeria, including more than $5.3 billion in health assistance. In 2020, we provided more than $57 million in assistance for the COVID-19 response, including U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiological COVID detection surveys and technical assistance and service plans. Following a conversation between Presidents Trump and Buhari, reflecting the bond of this U.S. president’s first-ever conversation with an African president during his tenure in office, we delivered 200 ventilators to Nigeria through the efforts of USAID.
Similarly, we celebrated with all Nigerians as the country attained the wild polio virus-free status, through an effort in which we were proud to invest approximately $200 million since 2012. Perhaps our greatest gains have come through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, through which we have invested more than $5.3 billion to support Nigeria’s HIV response and provided lifesaving HIV treatment for nearly one million Nigerians.
Our bilateral work has also expanded in the world of trade. The United States is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, and two-way trade has expanded to a value of over $9 billion. The mission has welcomed the U.S. Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and most recently an office from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to render assistance in expanding the economies of our two great nations while reducing the number of those impoverished.
As we continue to develop and expand our partnership with training and equipment between our militaries, we do so with the singular focus of increasing security while reinforcing democratic institutions with a keen eye on fundamental human rights. Through USAID’s democracy, human rights and governance investments we support responsive governance at state and local levels, enhanced credibility for elections, and increased capacity for civic engagement. We witnessed progress as recently as the Edo elections last month and look forward to peaceful and transparent elections in Ondo state. Recognizing the fervent sixtieth anniversary sentiments of both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, we look forward to advancing our partnership in shaping fruitful conversations on resolving conflicts which too often take on unfortunate religious and ethnic dimensions.
Sixty years ago, President Eisenhower recognized the many Nigerians who studied in the United States. In a new century, I meet graduates from American universities in virtually every sector here in Nigeria and know how much they contribute to Nigeria’s development while bringing our great nations closer together. In the last twenty years we have welcomed over 150,000 Nigerian students to the U.S. and supported thousands of others on professional development-oriented exchange programs. These extraordinarily beneficial exchanges are among the strongest pillars in reinforcing mutual understanding between our great nations.
33 Three American presidents from both major political parties have officially visited Nigeria, while five Nigerian presidents from different parties have officially visited the United States. We look forward with hope, optimism, and anticipation to ensuing decades of growth in our partnership, and to the leadership that Nigeria will continue to play in advancing a more secure and prosperous Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria
Some residents of Irele in Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State have accused the All Progressives Congress of engaging in vote-buying.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, one of them named S.A Adefuwa accused the APC of paying each voter N5,000 to cast the ballot in favour of the party.
He said, “Since morning, a lot of atrocities have been happening here including vote-buying. If they vote here, they collect tally and go to that place and they pay them N5,000.”
Another resident of the town, Fagun Olawole Peters, said, “Our people are selling their votes because of money, they are selling their futures. Because of N5,000, they are selling their votes to APC. They are selling their future, their children’s future.”
Other residents, who wishes to remain anonymous, described vote-buying by the APC as an act of desperation, adding that the party was no longer popular in the state.