Between Nigeria’s EndSARS Protest And Canadian Truckers Protest, Which One Is Better Managed?
BY AGUNLOYE ADEWUNMI BASHIRU
According to Wikipedia EndSARS is a decentralized social movement, and a series of mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria which was caused by the notorious activities of the now disbanded Nigeria’s Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). On 20 October 2020, tens of thousands of young Nigerians took to the streets in mass demonstrations that shook major cities in Nigeria. The overzealousness of the security agents, however, led to the killings of several protesters. This drew worldwide condemnation.
The Trucker Protests in Canada started in late January in downtown Ottawa where hundreds of heavy-duty trucks, pickup trucks and other vehicles were operated by individuals who said that they are tired of social restrictions and vaccine mandates attributed to Covid-19 and supported by tens of thousands of people. The trucker’s convoy obstructed traffic forced some businesses to close their doors and disrupted residents’ daily lives. These protests were staged in many other cities and places in Canada.
Unlike in Nigeria where many of the protesters were brutalized and killed by the Police, the Canadian Police and other security agents were seen appealing to protesters not to obstruct the traffic flow and disturb residents. Government officials from the Prime Minister, Ministers, Premiers, Mayors and others keep appealing to the protesters that “It is time to go home”.
Even with the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge that leads to the U.S State of Detroit by the protesters, it took the Premiers of Ontario, Doug Ford, a court injunction to enable the Police to remove the blockade caused on the bridge by the protesters. The police, while effecting the injunction of the court, was seen appealing to truckers and protesters for several hours to move their trucks and to go home. It is only when the protesters continue to be defiant that some of the violators were arrested without being brutalized by the police.
Journalists were allowed to perform their statutory duties of reporting the event as it unfolds without being brutalized or molested by the agent of the government, the police. No single case of journalists arrested by the police was reported. Also, no journalists midget or cameras were destroyed, confiscated or seized.
Notwithstanding that the blockade of bridges, roads, shops, offices and businesses by the protesters are not authorized under the Canada Law, the government from the Municipal, Province and Federal did not use force on the protesters likewise the police were not seeing brutalizing the people.
For the Nigerian government represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to be likening the EndSars protests in Nigeria with the Canadian truckers protests, is ridiculous, saying the action of the Canadian government has amounted to a double standard.
The question begging for an answer from the Honorable Minister of Information and Culture in Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Muhammed is that, where is the comparison between what happened during the 20th of October 2020 EndSars debacle and what is happening now in Canada.
As any cases of deaths reported in Canada truckers protests as a result of police brutality? As any cases of journalists’ harassment or brutality reported since the protests started about three weeks ago?
Is it not when the agent of the Nigerian government, the Nigeria Police started killing the protesters that the protesters started destroying public properties?
Nigerian government instead of likening the EndSars protests in Nigeria with the ongoing Truckers protests in Canada should learn from the civil way of dealing with protesters as demonstrated by the various levels of governments in Canada.
Elected Officials in Nigeria should learn from what the Mayor (Chairman) of the City of Ottawa in Canada, Mayor Jim Watson did by negotiating with the organizers of the Truckers Protests and the Protesters asking them to vacate the blockades of the residential areas in Ottawa without any use of force on the protesters.
The Nigeria Police Force should desist from brutalizing, rough handling and molesting protesters and journalists covering protests in Nigeria. Journalists should be allowed to carry out their duties of reporting protests without any molestation or harassment.
Nigeria Police Force and other security agents should desist from openly carrying guns around during peaceful protests, while more energy should be deployed to combat terrorists, bandits and kidnappers terrorizing Nigerians.
Nigerian citizens cannot sleep with their two eyes closed because of the myriad of crimes. Citizens can’t travel freely from one state to another because of the incessant activities of bandits and kidnapping for ransom on Nigerian roads.
Insecurity in Nigeria has now become a cankerworm without no cure as a result of the failure of the government to proffer a holistic solution to it.
It is high time information Minister, Lai Mohammed stop trading blame and face the reality on the ground and address issues holistically. The world is watching!
Agunloye Adewunmi Bashiru can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org