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#EndSARS protest: The cry of a beaten child

#EndSARS protest: The cry of a beaten child
October 17
09:55 2021

BY JOSEPH ALIU

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Every reasonable man knows that when a child is beaten, the next thing the child does is to cry out aloud. Why? Because of the pains and pangs that come with the beating.

Worryingly, the Nigerian government — that has figuratively beaten the hapless and helpless citizenry with draconian policies, broad daylight extortions and exploitations, incessant extrajudicial killings by unconscionable armed men, retarding and retrogressive economy and poor educational funding — expects that these citizens shouldn’t cry.

The question remains that, how do you even beat a child and expect the child not to cry? It is the most asinine of all things.

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The Nigerian citizens who have consistently shown the pains they suffer as a result of the figurative beatings by way of civil action- PROTEST, continually get unjustly arrested if not extra-judicially killed. This action of the Nigerian government is not just ungodly but more so unholy, whimsical, capricious, perfidious with a petrifying smell that stinks to high heavens.

In the case of SHUTTLESWORTH v BIRMINGHAM, it was settled that protest does not amount to a crime. The holding also protected the right to protest.

The wordings of our ever sagacious courts in the case of IGP v ANPP should be taken to heart. It was held in that case that: “A rally or a placard carrying demonstration has become a form of expression of views on current issues affecting government and the governed in a sovereign state. It is a trend recognised, and deeply entrenched in the system of governance in civilised countries-it will not only be primitive but also retrogressive if Nigeria continues to require a pass to hold a rally. We must borrow a leaf from those who have trekked the rugged path of democracy and are now reaping the dividend of their experience.”

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It can be tailored, doctored and authored to mean that the actions of the pained citizens which are expressed by way of protest are more of breathing life to the lucid section 39 and 40, 1999 CFRN. It cannot be the contemplations of the drafters of the constitution that persons should have protest in the confines and comfort of their homes. Protest must be on the street, in the open.

To now unduly, unruly and arbitrarily encroach on this inalienable right to protest by way of unlawful arrest, unjustifiable detention, harassment, indecent assault, intimidation, and extra-judicial killing would amount to a contradistinction and gross violation of the spirited letters.

Protest is a sacred civil right and no one, nobody, anywhere can deny peaceful and well-meaning citizens of this right. We cannot continue to live in the Hobbesian state where life was nasty, poor, solitary, brutish and short.

Aluta Continua.

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Joseph Aliu is a human rights activist and good governance advocate. He can be reached via 09085773212, 09029265474, [email protected]

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