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Beyond #EndSARS: Peterside advises youths to re-strategise, keep eyes on 2023

Two weeks of largely peaceful #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria peaked with the articulation of five demands and the shooting of unarmed protesters Tuesday night by unidentified operatives of the Nigerian Army.

In an interview with Arise News Morning Show, Friday, Atedo Peterside, chairman, ANAP Foundation and founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, advised the Nigerian youths to be more strategic in holding government to respond to the five demands. These demands include immediate release of all arrested protesters, justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.

Others are setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct.

In line with the new Police Act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers before they can be redeployed and an increase in police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.

Drawing from his wealth of experience dealing with the Nigerian state, politics and politicians, Peterside said the youth would have to craft a strategy anchored on 2023 general elections if they want politicians to take them seriously. Long-term planning would have more impact, he explained.

“Our youth need to adopt the carrot and stick approach and make this clear to the politicians. When a politician realises that their 2023 ambition can be negatively impacted by how they treat the #ENDSARS demands, they will sit up,” the investment banker said.

Simply put, politicians, especially governors, who move quickly to implement the demands would be rewarded accordingly and those that fail to do so, get voted out. The time to start building the strategy is now.

He also emphasised it was time to decentralise policing in the spirit of true federalism as in the United States of America for instance, where each state had a police department with a Federal Bureau of Investigations.

This would make policing more effective because police personnel would speak the language of the people and understand the terrain too, unlike the current situation where total strangers are expected to police environments where they neither understand the language nor the terrain.

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