There is tension in Abuja as the EndSARS protests get more complicated. Nerves are on edge and a little push might tip the country into a fatal conflagration. The Federal Government is being cautious to apply civil engagement to avoid the wrath of the international community and domestic meltdown.
However, inside sources told the Magazine the government is apprehensive of the protests escalating into a revolt against the government. There are different perspectives among the stakeholders in the country’s defence architecture. Some are already impatient with what they see as kid gloves being used to handle the protests and warn that a total breakdown in law and order may be afoot if not nipped in the bud.
This group feel strongly that a military solution be applied, no matter the fear of reprimands from the international community. They feel that internal security should take precedence over human rights. So far the voices of democracy are having their way but time may be running out on them. On Monday, counter-EndSARS protesters vent their anger on the Apo section of Abuja at peak period. Visibly unprovoked they left destruction in their part, burning cars displayed for sale and destroying cars and other properties. At the time of the violence the EndSARS protesters had already moved to another sector.
Tuesday morning, a group that calls itself the Fulnai National Movement, claimed responsibility for the Monday inferno. In an unsigned statement, they argued that the South and Middle Belt are trying to overthrow the government of President Muhammdau Buhari, and they would not have it so. They threatened tougher response to the EndSARS protesters.
Presently, the Duste Makaranta/Dutse Alhaji/Kubwa axis is on fire. Two people have been confirmed dead and many injured. A police station, PHCN office and a customary court are on fire as violence escalates in the nation’s Capital. The Saturday protest at Kubwa led to death of a young man who was stabbed severally by counter protesters and later died at the hospital By Monday soldiers were deployed to AYA/Nyanya/Karu axis to forestall the planned shutdown of the area by protesters. Even at that the protest still continued away from AYA. So far, the soldiers are firm but not molesting people. The Police are seen as interested party by the protesters and not trusted.
President Muhammadu Buhari in meeting with Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports, on Monday upheld the right of the youths to peaceful protest but told them to beware of hoodlums who may hijack their legitimate protest and give it a bad name. He told them that government had accepted their five demands and working to implement all.
It was gathered that government is also making greater efforts to resolve the ASUU impasse so that students can go back to school. It is felt that once school resumes the protests will fizzle out. But the fear is what happens before then as the violence is escalating by the day across the country. Two prisons were breached in Benin City on Monday and some prisoners released. Edo State has declared a 24-hour curfew. Lagos has also declared a 24-hour curfew to defuse the protests. Owerri is aflame. So is Port Harcourt. Every day, the protest is gathering momentum.
Ahmed Lawan, Senate president has urged the protesters to end the protests as their five point demands have been accepted by government. The National Assembly has pledged to build the compensation for those killed in the face-off into the 2021 budgetIf the protests worsen, the hawks may have their way. When they do, Nigeria would be heading to their version of Arab Spring.