The Memory Verses:
◼️”Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria” (Section 33(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999).
◼️”Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly – (a) no person shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment; (b) no person shall he held in slavery or servitude; and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced of compulsory labour.” (Section 34(1) of the Constitution).
◼️”Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law — (a) in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which the following cases and he has been found guilty”
The Double-Edged Condolence Message:
I sincerely sympathize with the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) over all policemen/women unlawfully killed during the unfortunate confusion that followed the #ENDSARS Protests in Nigeria. I sincerely condemn all forms of violence and wanton destruction of properties — public or private. It is really painful that Policemen were killed in their service of fatherland; it is equally very painful, indeed the height of irony, that some policemen who are paid with public funds to protect us and safeguard our lives, were for long hiding under SARS operations, to unlawfully brutalize and dehumanize, and to unscrupulously and repeatedly murder innocent Nigerian citizens on the streets of Nigeria. I feel the agony and pains of relatives and colleagues of the innocent policemen unjustifieably killed, just as I feel the agony and trauma of helpless parents and relatives of all Nigerian youths whose lives were extrajudicially ended in the hands of some overzealous, unscrupulous, trigger-happy policemen. Imagine for example the pains, the agony and the trauma going on in the hearts of the parents and relatives of the female Youth Corps Member whose life was surreptitiously terminated in the hands of Policemen while she was illegally detained in a SARS detention center sometime in September 2020? It’s so unfortunate that the innocent young NYSC member lost her life in police custody over an offence she knew absolutely nothing about. Then, what about countless other citizens who were unlawfully murdered in similar circumstances? Be it known to all Nigerians that all Nigerian heads are equal just as all Nigerian lives matter and are equally precious to all; no Nigerian life (whether of a citizen or of the police) deserves to be wasted except in accordance with lawful procedures and processes. Accordingly, let each and all equally, and mutually, respect each other’s, one another’s, and everyone’s right to life in line with section 33(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. Specifically, let all policemen who used to take especial pleasure in unlawfully harassing, unconstitutionally dehumanizing, illegally brutalizing, and in some cases, in murdering Nigerian youths, or any Nigeria citizen or resident, cease and desist in line with the demands of sections 33, 34, and 35 of the Nigerian Constitution, already referred to above (see the memory verses). In a similar vein, let all Nigerian youths cease and desist from all forms of violence and lawlessness in connection with or in furtherance of the ENDSARS Protest/project. Two wrongs do not make a right. That’s why Mahatma Gandhi once said, an eye for an eye would leave the world blind.
The Three-Thronged Appeal:
In view of the aforesaid, may I respectfully and passionately plead as follows:
- Let the Nigerian youth embrace peace and henceforth channel all their protests, projects, anger and displeasures with the status quo, through lawful and violence-free means. We appreciate their pains and frustrations, and the justness of their cause, but we can still realise all set objectives through lawful processes and peaceful agitations.
- Let all officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, in the interest of the security of lives and properties, please immediately return to work, while efforts are made by stakeholders to assuage injured feelings, calm frayed nerves on all sides, and compensate all losses as well as institute relevant measures to prevent a recurrence.
- I appeal to all governments and stakeholders at all levels, in the private and public sectors, to take urgent steps to honestly address all the issues that had triggered the #ENDSARS Protests and the violence that ensued, in order to put things right, according to law, avoid a recurrence and instill discipline and professionalism on all institutions, security agents and citizens. I personally believe huge lessons have been learnt by all and on all sides. We must now honestly and diligently strive to create a greater, more civilized and peaceful future by never repeating any mistakes of the past. Dehumanization, brutalization and extra judicial termination of lives of citizens must stop forthwith. The security agents can effectively and efficiently discharge their duties and realize their lawful objectives without the need to brutalize, dehumanize, unnecessary harass or extra judicially and unlawfully kill Nigerians. George Santayana said, “those who forget the past are condmend to repeat the failures and mistakes of the past.”
Thank you; I love you all. God bless Nigeria!
Sylvester Udemezue (Udems)