By Adeola Soetan.
Honestly, I don’t know why many people, especially some hot and cold revolutionaries, are losing their sleep and threatening to withdraw their inert support for the #ENDSARS Protest because of allegations that prison inmates were freed by #ENDSARS protesters..
The last time I can remember when prisoners were freed by protesters was when Great Ife Students were alleged to have freed inmates of Ife prison during a protest against ABU Massacre, Zaria incident in 1986 when some students were killed by trigger happy policemen.
Yes, it’s tempting to quickly condemn such unusual occurrence based on infectious ruling class bourgeois’ rotten morality without giving a deep thought to the causes before condemning the effects. A mass movement in anger against the ruling class values does not operate on the basis of bourgeois morality and its discriminatory codes of ethics that protect the interest of the rich against the poor.
We should not be distorted or discouraged by a seemingly act of anarchism by some protesters which calls attention to the sustained assault on the fundamental human rights of many poor prisoners and detainees to fair hearing and quick administration of justice.
In a country where over 70 percent of awaiting trial detainees in overcrowded prisons are denied quick access to justice through many years of adjournment sine die, and are wasting away without any hope of freedom because of the rotten judicial and policing system, such “free detainees languishing in jai without trial” as a demand or implementation by protesters often do occur, more so, when the protest is based on social justice and equal right.
It becomes poignantly provocative to the mass movement of the people in a crisis situation when they realized again that many of those pretending to govern or lead them are unrepentant celebrated criminals, looters, political bandits, election riggers, murderers, certificate and name forgers, credit card rogues, fugitives and bail jumpers. Many of them you all know and still celebrate them as leaders, are supposed to be in jail but are not. They are not in jail because law and justice are skewed in their favour to manipulate, buy-off and trampled upon with arrogance and impunity while petty criminals, the innocent ones, victims of ruling class’ mismanagement of economic and political power are wasting away in jail.
Take for instance, as I write now, no single policeman, soldier or political thug is in jail or on trial for the cold- blooded murder of FUOYE 2 over a year now despite assurances of speedy investigation by Gov. Kayode Fayemi whose wife and her security details’ mismanagement of the situation was responsible for the escalation that led to the killing of the two students. If it had been other way round, one can be sure that many innocent and radical students even if they were not in school or at the scene of the bloody murder would be in jail now. That’s an example of duplicitous bourgeois government’s obscene morality. So, we have to be very careful which morality or code of value that guides our position when disturbing events occur during a mass protest and in our daily interactions with the ruling class and its deceptive ethical manifestations.
In this unresolved contradiction of social ethics and political morality of the two opposing classes , a Mass Movement of the People on the March against the rotten status quo, may be provoked as time goes on, to exercise its own “prerogative of mercy” in solidarity to the vulnerable victims of law, to free them of the bad anti-poor system and its laws which are being challenged.
We may not like it, we may condemn it, but we must understand it, not only understanding the effects but the causes which must be addressed. While we condemn anarchism, we must condemn also the lawless system that promotes it.
I stand with #ENDSARS protest against bad governance, police brutality, delayed court trial of the poor, selective access to quick justice by the rich while the poor suspects rot in jail awaiting trial that may never come.
*Soetan, a former Nigerian youth, can be reached on 08037207856