Okey Bakassi, the Nigerian comedian, says the federal government cannot sweep the #EndSARS movement under the carpet due to its significance in the country’s history.
The actor was reflecting on the #EndSARSMemorial protest among other issues in a recent chat with HipTV.
On October 20, 2020, soldiers had opened fire on unarmed youths protesting against police brutality at the Lekki tollgate axis of Lagos state.
To commemorate those who lost their lives during the last year’s protest, youths had staged a demonstration on Wednesday across different parts of the country, chanting solidarity songs.
Commenting on the development, Okey Bakassi said it is sad that the government could only clamp down on the protesters without utilising the movement to reform the police.
He added that any attempt to erase the memory of the #EndSARS movement would not work due to the emergence of social media.
“I’m totally in support of those celebrating the #EndSARS anniversary because it’s a day we cannot wish away from our calendar. When you talk about the history of this country, it’s a day when the youths of this country came together and said enough is enough,” he said.
“The youths — Christians, Muslims… — came out with one voice and government missed an opportunity to interface with them to bring about positive change.
“One year after the #EndSARS protest, is the country safer? The answer is no. Look at the level of insecurity in the country. If government had used the opportunity of the #EndSARS protest to look at serious police reform, the country would have been better secured.
“But the government did not do that. Instead, protesters were attacked and injured while some were killed, so it’s not a day we can wish away.”
The entertainer, born Okechukwu Onyegbule, also said the government should find better ways of engaging the youths.
“I know in Nigeria, there’s this tendency by the authorities to sweep history under the carpet but unfortunately for them, this social media era, you can’t stiffle the people. So, by now, government should be more reasonable to find better ways of engaging with the people,” he added.
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