Politics Shehu Sani Urges Tinubu to Release Detained EndSARS Protesters, Calling Him 'Father of Protest'
Shehu Sani Urges Tinubu to Release Detained EndSARS Protesters, Calling Him 'Father of Protest'

The Democracy Day Appeal: A Call from the Heart

During the Democracy Day dinner held at the prestigious State House in Abuja on Wednesday, June 12, former Kaduna Central Senator Shehu Sani made a heartfelt appeal to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This was not a mere request but a profound plea that resonated deeply with the principles of justice, democracy, and freedom. Sani, known for his bold and candid remarks, urged Tinubu to release the detained EndSARS protesters who have been languishing in various police stations since the 2020 protests.

Shehu Sani’s plea to President Tinubu was not just a political statement but a call to acknowledge and respect the voices of young Nigerians. He referred to Tinubu as the 'father of protest,' an iconic figure who has played a significant role in Nigeria’s political landscape. By invoking this title, Sani highlighted the irony of Tinubu's position, who once rallied and mentored the youth to stand against oppression but now presides over their detention. According to Sani, these protesters are akin to Tinubu’s 'children and grandchildren', symbolizing the next generation of advocates for a better Nigeria.

The Legacy of Protest in Nigeria

Nigeria has a rich history of protests and agitations for rights, justice, and democracy. Tinubu himself was a key figure during the pro-democracy struggles against military rule in the 1990s. His efforts, along with those of many others, eventually led to the establishment of democratic governance in Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that Sani's appeal carries profound weight. He reminded Tinubu of his own journey, a time when he too was an agitator, a youth in the trenches, and an instigator of change. The former Senator's appeal is a poignant reminder of the cyclical nature of history and the roles individuals play across different eras.

The EndSARS protests of 2020 were a significant chapter in this ongoing narrative. The movement, which started as a call to end police brutality under the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), quickly evolved into a broader demand for systemic change. The protests saw millions of young Nigerians take to the streets, demanding an end to corruption, extrajudicial killings, and indiscriminate arrests. These protests were a stark manifestation of the pent-up frustrations and the burgeoning aspirations of the country's youth.

The Human Cost: Stories of Detained Protesters

The Human Cost: Stories of Detained Protesters

As the protests grew, so did the crackdown. Thousands were arrested, and while many have been released, a substantial number remain detained. Their stories are harrowing, filled with tales of deprivation and injustice. Families have been torn apart, futures cast into uncertainty, and dreams put on hold. Sani’s appeal seeks to bring these stories to the forefront, to humanize these individuals who have been reduced to mere statistics in the annals of political repression.

The anguish of the families of the detained protesters is palpable. Mothers and fathers who sent their children to fight for a better Nigeria are now living in the constant worry of their well-being. The psychological and emotional toll on these families is immeasurable. Releasing these young individuals is not just an act of political goodwill but a move that would heal numerous wounded hearts and restore faith in the justice system.

The Rationale Behind Sani's Appeal

Shehu Sani’s appeal is grounded in the principles of justice and democracy. By calling for the release of the EndSARS protesters, he is advocating for a Nigeria that honors the voices of its youth. He emphasized the notion that these young people were not criminals but citizens exercising their democratic rights. Their demands for justice, accountability, and systemic reform should be acknowledged rather than suppressed.

Sani’s plea also touches on the inconsistencies in the responses to the protests. While some protesters have been released, the continued detention of others creates a dichotomy that undermines the rule of law. It sends a mixed signal about the country’s commitment to justice and democratic principles. Sani's appeal to Tinubu is a call for a consistent and fair approach to addressing the grievances of the citizens.

The Broader Implications

The Broader Implications

The release of the detained EndSARS protesters would have wider implications for Nigeria’s political landscape. It would signify an acknowledgment of the legitimate concerns raised during the protests and a commitment to addressing them. It would also serve as a confidence-building measure, reassuring the youth that their voices matter and are heard.

Moreover, it would foster a spirit of reconciliation and healing. The EndSARS protests, and the subsequent crackdown, left deep scars in the collective psyche of the nation. Addressing these issues is essential for moving forward as a cohesive society. By pardoning the detained protesters, Tinubu would be taking a significant step towards national unity and reconciliation.

Additionally, this move could have positive ramifications for Nigeria’s international image. The global community closely watched the EndSARS protests, and the crackdown drew widespread criticism. By releasing the detained protesters, Nigeria would be sending a strong message about its commitment to human rights and democratic values. This could enhance the country’s standing on the international stage and attract support for its socio-economic and political reforms.

The Path Forward

As Nigeria navigates its democratic journey, the contributions and sacrifices of its youth cannot be overlooked. The EndSARS protests were a testament to the power and potential of the younger generation. Their courage and determination to fight for a better Nigeria deserve recognition and respect.

President Tinubu has a unique opportunity to honor this legacy and set a precedent for future administrations. By heeding Shehu Sani’s appeal and releasing the detained EndSARS protesters, he would be reinforcing the values of justice, freedom, and democracy that he once fought for.

The journey towards a just and democratic Nigeria is ongoing, and the voices of its youth are an integral part of this process. Their fight for justice should not be met with repression but with acknowledgment and action. As the 'father of protest,' Tinubu has a moral obligation to stand by the principles he once espoused and ensure that the sacrifices of the EndSARS protesters are not in vain.

The release of the detained EndSARS protesters would be a powerful gesture, symbolizing a commitment to justice and progress. It would demonstrate that the Nigerian government values the voices of its citizens and is willing to listen and act upon their concerns. This would be a significant step towards building a more just, equitable, and democratic Nigeria for all.

About the author

Melinda Hartfield

I am a journalist focusing on daily news across Africa. I have a passion for uncovering untold stories and delivering factual, engaging content. Through my writing, I aim to bring attention to both the challenges and progress within diverse communities. I collaborate with various media outlets to ensure broad coverage and impactful narratives.

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