The EndSARS protests across the nation by the aggrieved Nigerian youths have caused serious shivers down the spine of the Nigerian government. The movement was never what they expected. At first, the government thought this protest was not going to be different from all other protests in the past. The major threat when it came to protests and unrest were mostly engineered by students of higher institutions led by schools known for radical movements. These schools include Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Benin, University of Ibadan, Lagos State University, and Ambrose Alli University etc under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Students.
This time around it is not just students who have been at home for months due to Covid-19 pandemic but all youths who are out of school both unemployed and employed are part of the protest. The Nigerian government is so confused on how to curtail the protests as their usual way of stopping protests in the past is no longer working as envisaged. There are no identifiable leaders to bribe. Another problem the government is facing is that these protesters are united as one Nigeria and not created along religious or ethnic lines. The third concern of the government is that the protesters are intelligent and technology gurus compared the men at the helm of affairs. There are several reports of government institutions data base being hacked into and confidential information set to be exposed.
It is giving the government a serious scare as the protesters are not relenting on their efforts to drive home their points. The target is to make the protest 30 days for the United Nations to step in and that is what the Nigerian government is trying to avoid. Irrespective of the presence of security forces and their intimidating techniques, the youth protesters have remained calm making the protests as peaceful as possible. There have been incidences of politicians using thugs to try and disrupt the protests but the youths are one step ahead. This is one of the most technical and intelligence based protests that the Nigerian government has ever witnessed.
The Nigerian government instead of admitting defeat and come to the table, they are resorting to their last card of attack – bring the military to use force against the protesters. The military will launch operation “Crocodile smile” on 20th October, 2020 to try and disrupt the protests. The newly created EndSARS online radio known as SORO SOKE which is a Yoruba statement for “Speak Out” has been enlightening protesters and the world at large about the whole event. Soro Soke has become the slogan for the youths. The use of military might against unharmed youths is the last move of the Nigerian government as they have ran out of options. This “Soro Soke” Protest has held the government by the throat and they have no other option than to start acting instead of looking for ways to quenching the protests and go back to business as usual.
Photo credit: AllAfrica