Yesterday, there was a shocking report of youth along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway on rampage, setting fire all around the highways over yet another of the several killings that have happened since the elections: officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) shot dead an alleged “Yahoo boy”.
Internet fraudsters are popularly known as Yahoo boys. And by law, they commit financial fraud, which is only to be tackled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The history of the FSARS shows a that of brutality and crime against humanity than those of armed robbers they are meant to arrest and investigate. When you meet SARS field officers, you see much recklessness attached to them. Aside the fact that they brutalize both innocents and suspects, they are a bunch of extortionists.
Their brutality and extortion explains why the hashtag #ENDSARS became so popular and led to mass actions that civil society were part of. And last year, the Federal government curbed the excesses of the FSARS teams and took them away from the streets. But as the new Inspector General of Police emerged, he returned SARS to the streets.
While the effect of the return of the notorious police team was not felt during the elections, mainly because of the political momentum, the SARS members soon start showing their bestial nature as soon as elections round up. Students, corp members, and youths now complain of harassments, torture, and extortions.
Good sense must dictate our collective response to the return of the notorious FSARS teams.
We must understand, on the primal, the historical importance of the militia forces to our rulers. They serve mainly, in the late Ibadan political godfather Lamidi Adedibu’s words, as “thuugi Ijoba.” That sage of a thug himself recognized the militia forces as “government thugs!”
Second, we must understand that youth restiveness, yahoo yahoo, and some other enormous street crimes are caused majorly by mass poverty and unemployment. Nigeria is a country that is fast shifting into the neo-liberal era that is crude in the quest for primitive accumulation. Stinking profits are placed far more than people’s lives.
The fact that we believe we can win anti-state battles through advocacy and a one-off struggle is faulty when faced with the current reality of the return of the barbarians. I remember my long debate with @Segalinks stressed the fact that only system change can make us win permanent battles against the ruling class especially in the vital case of using police teams like SARS to send down mass fear into especially the army of jobless youths who might think of uniting and fighting them who are the sources of our sorrows.
The way to go now is to return to the barricades. Those are the places where we can freely team up and collectively defeat the barbarians coming back. Our hash tag must be retweeted!
While we all prepare for this collective battle, I recommend that we start studying the resilience of the French youths in their #Yellowvests. We must fight beyond SARS to unemployment; education underfunding; bad healthcare; VAT increments and other anti-people taxes; few and expensive housing; and many other austerity and hardships.
We must alongside workers demand for the implementation of a living wage, and join the coming May with grand rallies by Left forces in the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) and some other trusted alliances.
We are condemned, as a generation, out of this relative anomalies, to fulfil the missions we now find in our hands. But if we decide to wait “till e reach our bones,” as Fela warned; they will continue to kill us ten times before our grave!!!