FG will henceforth treat any fresh demonstration against perceived police brutality or any other issue, particularly if it threatens to disrupt peace and security of any part of the country, as high treason aimed at unconstitutional regime change.
This position of government may not be unconnected with the notice of a fresh protest against alleged federal government’s harassment of promoters of the #EndSARS protests held in October, scheduled for December 5 has been trending on social media for weeks.
This has attracted a firm response from the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who warned, shortly before a meeting with the commissioners of police in the 36 state commands and the FCT last Friday, that the proposed protest would be resisted by the nation’s security agencies.
The protesters had made a five-point demand, including immediate release of all arrested protesters; justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensations for their families; setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reported police misconduct within a period of 10 days; carrying out psychological evaluation and retaining of all disbanded SARS operatives before they can be deployed (this should be verified by an independent body); and the government should increase police salary and they should be adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of the citizens.
And with the threat of fresh protests from Monday, ostensibly to resist the alleged harassment of the promoters of the October demonstrations, the federal government is said to be unprepared to brook any further challenge to its authority.
“The federal government thinks that there is more than meets the eye,” a security source said, asking: “What is the fresh protest about when the government has since accepted all their demands and has put in place the machinery for implementing the demands?”
He said the federal government feels that politics is behind the protest, pointing out that the findings of the security agencies with respect to the funding of the October matches showed substantial political funding.
“We traced some of the funds to some persons of interest; in some cases, some of them apologised, pleading that they did not know that was what the funds would be used for,” he said.
Another security source said there is enough evidence to show that aggrieved political interests are fuelling the protest with the intention of forcing the government to its knees.
“They are appealing to perceived popular sentiments, playing on the hard times that are not entirely the making of the government,” she explained, adding: “The people who lost out on the political turf, now want to take advantage of the dire economic situation.”
She stated pointedly: “The strategy is mob rule, the type that occurred in Mali a few months ago. The mistake they are making, however, is that they fail to realise that we have stronger security institutions here to resist unconstitutional regime change.”
“As President Muhammadu Buhari said in one of his concession speeches, the federal government’s decision to accept the demands of the protesters should not be mistaken for weakness,” she warned.
However, the Feminist Coalition and a couple of other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that participated in the earlier matches in October, have beaten a retreat, saying they are not part of the proposed protest.
“Our initial intervention was to end SARS and seek justice for the victims of its brutal operations,” she stated, adding: “Since the federal government has disbanded the rogue squad and is attending to the other demands, we have no further issues to protest.”