“Failed leadership has gone global in the last year, with politicians responding to protests with brutality or indifference. Governments must show legitimate leadership and reject injustice by protecting the powerless and restraining the powerful. It is time to put people before corporations and rights before profits,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General.”
I remember in January when Nigerians expressed their legitimate right to protest the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. Large numbers of people gathered daily especially at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, Lagos to express their discontent with the policy and how did the govt of President Jonathan react, it deployed soilders to break up the protest.
Similarly in Lagos state, Policemen were also deployed by Governor Babatunde Fashola to forcefully repress the protests of Lekki residents against the high toll fare imposed by the lagos State government. This act of repression now seems to be the norm for governments who have thrown the concept of fundamental human rights into the bin, while they protect the interests of a few irresponsible government croonies.
Such actions by government agencies are however not restricted only to Nigeria but can be found in places such as Quebec, Angola, Egypt and Syria just to mention a few. With crackdown on protesters leading to the arrest and assault of thousands of people.
In January, 2012 during the period of Nigeria’s awakening, it became apparent that in Nigeria the interest of oil marketers and their partners in the Legislative and Executive arm of government come before the interest of the common Nigerian, how else would government expect us to react if not by taking to the streets. Our representatives in the National Assembly are too busy drafting bills to increase their pay and allowances.
Civil disobedience would always be a tool of engaging government and i must warn the administration of President Jonathan that if corruption is not brought under control in Nigeria’s public and private sectors, all the solders and policemen in Nigeria would not be able to quench or repress the wrath of Nigerians who are now demanding change.
By Adedunmade Onibokun