[EDITORIAL] Endsars: We Must Continue to Honour Memory of Fallen Compatriots

Today, as the sun ascends on October 20, 2023, it illuminates a day of profound significance for Nigeria. It marks the third anniversary of the “End SARS” movement, a chapter in our nation’s narrative that should never fade into oblivion.

In 1992, Nigeria saw the birth of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), intended to combat rampant armed robberies. However, over time, this unit grotesquely morphed into a symbol of terror, leaving a trail of death, fear, and oppression in its wake. What was meant to protect us became our worst nightmare, with numerous cases of harassment, human rights abuses, theft, and even murder perpetrated by SARS officers.

The call to disband SARS began in 2016, but despite numerous reform attempts, the nightmare persisted. The turning point came in October 2020, when a horrifying video emerged, showing a young man allegedly shot dead by SARS in Delta State. This incident ignited a fire that spread across Nigeria and resonated globally.

On October 20, 2020, Nigerian youth took to the streets of Lagos, Abuja, and other major cities, exercising their democratic rights. But at Lekki Toll Gate, a place that should have stood for democracy, the right to peaceful protest was violently quashed. The Nigerian military, allegedly acting under government orders, opened fire on unarmed protesters waving their national flag. It was a massacre, captured in real-time videos, where citizens were ruthlessly gunned down for daring to voice their discontent.

READ ALSO: We Will Never Forget’: Nigerians Mark 3rd EndSARS Anniversary

On this day, we remember those heroes whose blood stains the hands of the Lagos State Government led by Governor Sanwo Olu, who allowed injustice to prevail. Shockingly, despite irrefutable evidence, the government denied any loss of life. Even now, the truth remains shrouded in mystery: Who is lying, covering for whom?

In this darkness, influential figures like Bola Ahmed Tinubu, instead of standing with the people, criticized the youths’ exercise of their constitutional right to protest and was busy asking frivolous questions such as “why were the protesters there, and how are they there”. Such disdain for the very essence of democracy is a stain on our nation’s soul.

At Parallel Facts News, we won’t use this day to urge the government to address the unresolved problems that caused endars and the implementation of the numerous reports of the judicial panel of inquiries set up after the Nigerian government hijacked the protest.

A government that clamps down on free speech, hostile to criticism, and has nearly criminalized protests in the country will not do anything meaningful to implement the report of the judicial panel set up to investigate the Lekki incident.

Three years is enough for any sensible government, no matter how hypocritical it may be, to do the right thing. Three years later, it’s appalling that we are asking a deaf government: who gave the order to kill these innocent protesters? Why were government vehicles used to convey thugs to attack protesters in Abuja? Why was the light at Lekki switched off? Why did the Lagos State government hurriedly clean up the scene a few hours after the shooting? The list is endless.

Our message to the government at all levels, which has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the killing of innocent protesters at Lekki, is simple, short, and precise. “Power is transient.” Even if it takes a hundred years, the truth always prevails.

As we mark this pivotal moment in our history, let us honor the memory of those who fell fighting for justice. Let their sacrifice fuel our determination to demand transparency, accountability, and justice from our leaders. The ‘End SARS’ movement is not just a campaign; it is a beacon of hope lighting our way towards a just and equitable Nigeria.

May we never forget the lives lost, the injustice suffered, and the power of our collective voice. Let this day be a reminder that our fight is not over; it has just begun. Together, we will continue to strive for a Nigeria where justice prevails and every citizen’s rights are respected.