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What The Lagos And Edo State Curfews Mean For The #ENDSARS Protests

What’s going on?

Yesterday, the Edo State Government announced the imposition of a 24-hour curfew across the state with effect from 4:00 pm, Monday, October 19, 2020, till further notice following the ‘alleged attacks’ carried out by hoodlums unconnected to the #EndSARS protests.  It was announced after suspected hoodlums, on Monday morning ‘allegedly’ attacked a maximum-security prison in Benin City and freed the inmates.

24 hours later and the Lagos State Government has followed suit, announcing the imposition of a one-day curfew starting at 4 pm today. The abrupt announcement was made by the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu via his official Twitter handle.

What does this mean for the protest?

Practically, the curfew order by the government could result in physical protests suspended indefinitely.  These measures by the government had long been anticipated by activists and online protestors as the next step authorities would take to delay or prevent acceptance of the demands of the protestors under the guise of restoring law and order.

Peaceful protesters have also feared that their cause could be hijacked by more violent elements, and their fears have been confirmed. There have been stories of harassment, extortion, and violence and regrettably, the police force that is meant to protect peaceful protests has been negligent and complicit to these acts of violence against protesters in a bid to stop the protests.

The timing of the order is also peculiar. It gives Lagosians stuck in standstill traffic less than 4 hours notice to return to their homes or otherwise risk customary harassment by the Police which typically arises during citywide lockdowns. The exact sort of conduct the protests are addressing in the first place.

One thing is clear: people across the country are calling for an end of abuse — perpetrated by police or politicians, curfew or not. The only solution is for the government to offer what the #EndSARS protesters truly want- a comprehensive reform in policing and law enforcement and tackle the problem of insecurity in Nigeria.

So what next?

The sudden curfew announcements may buy time for the government but it also gives time to the #ENDSARS Protestors to regroup, restrategize and come up with ways to continue their legitimate protests with renewed enthusiasm and safely when the curfew expires.

In the meantime, retweet, retweet, and retweet! Online protests can continue in earnest indoors and we at SociaLiga support the rights of all Nigerians to physically or virtually peacefully protest.

Stay Safe Everyone!

#ENDSARS #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY

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