By Uche Nwosu
The recent #EndSARS Protests that degenerated to massive looting and wanton destruction of public and private properties, killing of policemen by angry mobs across the nation etc have succeeded in exposing one major fact; that you can only fool the people some of the time, but can never fool them all the time.
It is a well known fact that there is hunger in the land. That the hunger that pervades the landscape is made manifest by poor governance, misadministration and looting of Nigeria’s commonwealth by the leadership is also not uncertain. Millions of youths are jobless and hungry, having nowhere to eke out a living.
Each day comes with the fact that the next meal will come from nowhere. And therefore, deep rooted anger reigns palpable. Nowhere to ventilate the anger, nowhere to lay any complaint, nowhere to get succour and no help was coming from any front. The most affected are the youths, who, after spending several years in schools are left to parasite on parents and relations.
And so when the opportunity beckoned to let out the anger, It became a tsunami. Thanks to the Nigeria Police, whose special unit against crimes and criminalities, Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) provided the platform. So, the youths let go; destroying whatever they laid their hands on. The protests that started peaceful was redirected by a tiny section of the youths which believed that it ought not to have been solemn in the first place. On this, it became volatile as hoodlums, who had been waiting for such opportunity, held sway.
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The protesters are resident here in Nigeria; they didn’t jump from the moon. Daily, they see their parents owed arrears of salaries, denied basic allowances, unable to access medi-care, dying in droves, while they, themselves, are left jobless, frustrated and hungry because of bad governance. Indeed, the most frustrating aspect of living in Nigeria is this seizure or carting away of public properties with reckless abandon by elected and appointed officer holders.
Would a reasonable homo sapien continue to retain his/her insanity if he/she, on daily basis, beholds some of these wickedness by our governors and political leaders? They locked the palliatives meant for the poor and the deprived in warehouses and large stores without distributing them. Note that these palliatives were bought with the tax payers’ money to enable them overcome the harshness of time after the deadly pandemic had taken its toll on them. But alas, they were kept out of the people’s reach by our wicked and insensitive leaders.
Remember, it is the same youths that offloaded them into the warehouses; and so it was easy to direct their peers on where they were stored. It is proper to say that all the 36 state governors were guilt of this misdemeanor. Interestingly, some governors gave mundane statements as reasons they didn’t distribute them. Some said they were waiting for the second outbreak of COVID-19, some opined that they wanted to distribute them during their birthdays; others asserted that they wanted a comprehensive package of the palliatives before distribution.
What a wicked excuse! Even funds released by the federal government were also kept back. For instance, Abia State got N1billion earlier as confirmed by Governor Okeze Ikpeazu in one of his tweets and it was kept back
According to the governor, “our assurance is the N1billion recently received from the federal government will be judiciously used and publicly accounted for, as always”. Why the government didn’t disclose the arrival of this fund when it first hit the state’s account remains a guess? Why did the government wait until the uprising and breakage of warehouses by rampaging youths to search for palliatives to announce the release of N1billion by the federal government?
The Witness as an unbiased Magazine believes that that there is more to that delay in announcing and releasing the N1billion fund that meets the eyes. However, the Magazine commends the Abia State government for distributing the palliatives as at and when due. It should therefore be cautioned for not announcing or releasing the N1billion release by the federal government when it arrived.
Why did the government wait until the uprising and breakage of warehouses by rampaging youths to search for palliatives to announce the release of N1billion by the federal government?
The federal government should institute an inquiry on the disbursement of the funds and palliates it released to the 36 states to cushion the effect of COVID-19. The inquiry should ascertain why states failed to distribute them as at and when due and at the end stop any further distribution to states that didn’t meet the standard.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.