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I Recognise This Movement for What It Is, Pastor Bakare Speaks on #EndSARS Protests

The Presiding Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare has bared his mind with regards to the ongoing #EndSARS Protests, embarked upon by the Nigerian youths.

Below is Pastor Bakare’s comment:

It is with a heavy heart I have followed the #EndSARS protests, as young and older Nigerians from various walks of life, across the length and breadth of the nation and the diaspora, are united in rejecting harassment, humiliation and the coldblooded murder of their fellow citizens. I recognise this movement for what it is: a wholesale rejection of the barrage of needless frustrations and degradations that define the Nigerian experience. There is a threshold of decency below which no human being must fall, and I reject any status quo where citizens become disposable or the right to life becomes negotiable. I applaud the resilience of protesters in the face of yet more reckless cruelty, and I am increasingly confident that this generation will succeed where mine has failed.

I acknowledge the comments and efforts of the presidency, state governments, the national and state assemblies, and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). I also appreciate the need to find a delicate balance between curbing the spate of armed robbery as an occupation and acceding to the specific requests of protesters who have justifiably reached a saturation point. It is evident that SARS was created with noble anti-robbery intentions reminiscent of Operation Sweep, the late ‘90s anti-crime initiative of the Buba Marwa administration in Lagos. However, the grave irony of SARS is that it has become a grotesque embodiment of the problem it was created to solve and the tail is now wagging the dog.

You simply cannot police a people without their cooperation, and you cannot obtain the cooperation of the people for a tactical unit they no longer trust. In the short-term, we must find a balance between retaining the anti-robbery intention and re-evaluating the identity of the vehicle by first expelling and prosecuting the criminal elements among the rank and file and the leadership. This is non-negotiable. We must Re-evaluate, Restructure, Rebrand and Rebuild Confidence in an efficient and effective anti-robbery tactical unit even as we work towards a more holistic and fundamental reconception of our security architecture on the journey to national rebirth.

This savage Nigerian-on-Nigerian cannibalism must end, and I expect a decisive and lasting solution to be implemented, even as I commiserate with every Nigerian whose only crime was to be born Nigerian. I enjoin every aggrieved citizen to continue to find peaceful means to air discontents until we arrive at a version of Nigeria we can all be proud of. May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and may the living forge a nation worthy of the resounding courage of the young men and women of the #EndSARS movement.

Tunde Bakare

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