The last week has been one full of dramatic events that will probably be recorded in Nigeria’s history. What is the effect of the EndSars movent and how is it influencing GenZ?
The youth are demanding for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, popularly known as SARS, to be scrapped. This is due to accusations concerning crimes against young citizens of the nation. As a result, there has been a series of continuous protests on federal roads of different states across the country; with youths displaying signs and placards demanding for the abolishment of SARS.
The EndSARS protests initially started out as a social movement on the social media app Twitter, with the hashtag #EndSARS. It has been a trend that dies down and resurfaces inconsistently over the last four years. The resurgence of the trend occurred on the 3rd of October, 2020; when a team of SARS operatives allegedly kill a young man in front of Wetland Hotel, Ughelli in Delta State [Source: DailyPost].
This led to an outcry by the public on Twitter; to scrap, once and for all, the SARS department of the Police Force. During the protests, members of the police force were seen assaulting citizens protesting; by firing live ammunition, use of tear gas and water cannons on them. One of these actions led to the death of Jimoh Isiaq in Oyo State and injury of many others. Source: Channels.
Ban on SARS
On the 11th of October 2020, The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu ordered for the immediate dissolution of SARS. The Nigeria Police Force then released five(5) ‘things to know’ that came along with the dissolution of SARS. This included the redeployment of men working under the SARS unit to other police units. The Inspector-General of Police also named a new squad; Special Weapons And Tactics unit, SWAT, which did not appeal to the pleas of the protesters; causing the #EndSWAT trend on Twitter.
These 5 things are as seen below, signed by the Police Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba:
Our Five Demands, by the Youth
In response to banning SARS, online and active protesters continued with their protests; stating that they do not want a reform of the SARS department, but rather its true and absolute dissolution. On the other hand, the protesters made five (5) demands which they presented to the federal government. They announced that the protests would continue until these demands were met.
Below are the demands of the Nigerian Youth
- Immediate release of all arrested protesters.
- Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
- Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (Within 10 days).
- In line with the new Police Act; A Psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers should be carried out before they can be redeployed.
- Increase Police Salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and properties of citizens
Influence on GenZ
The timing of these events are amazing as we just had our Annual Parenting Conference themed, GenZ – Growth and Grit; where we discussed how GenZ are becoming a growing influence in our society. The ability to demand change from higher powers shows the resilience we talked about. Parents should not take the action of GenZ for granted. Neither should they negate their attitude towards the injustice they feel from the system. Rather, parents and all stakeholders should support the youth at this time. However, the safety of all involved should be a high priority.
How to Ensure the Safety of GenZ at this Time
Most of the youths in these protests are known to have made up their minds to protest; in the event of this, parents can ensure their protection by keeping these few things in mind:
- Words of Prayer for them.
- With the COVID_19 pandemic still existent, we can provide them with face masks, gloves and sanitizers.
- Encourage them to move in groups so as not to be alone or harassed.
- Ensure frequent contact via their mobile phones so that their whereabouts are shared.
- Have conversations with your children and youth about why they are protesting and keeping the focus on the right goals.
- Encourage all protestors to stay peaceful and not participate in consuming alcohol or other substances.
As parents, let us acknowledge the positive actions of our children and youth. These actions are specifically against the injustice in the system. As they have looked up to us, we should also keep faith in their fight for the change they desire. Indeed we are praying for a positive outcome for the nation at this time. #EndSarsbrutality