One of the arrowheads of the #EndSARS protests, Oluwarinu Oduala, has described the recent clampdown by the Federal Government on #EndSARS campaigners as an unfair practice in a democracy.
Oduala, who is a member of the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing cases of police brutality and the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate, said the recent action of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a betrayal of the supposed peace-making efforts of the government.
The apex bank had last week obtained a court order to freeze accounts of Oduala and those of 19 others till January 2021.
In an article on Monday night, the youth activist said though the government agreed that it was important to reform the Nigeria Police Force, it has refused to honour its promises and now targets the people who spoke up.
“I am not afraid—I am only disappointed that this country will treat me this way. We are the soul of this nation and no nation exists without her people.
“Nigeria is all I have, and I have a right to demand that it works for all of us, not just those with influence, wealth, or a government position.
“In a country that people have been voiceless for a long time, people holding the government accountable is being seen as too much? How can we ensure that this sort of thing will encourage people to build a new Nigeria? A Nigeria that will be filled with accountable government officials, where all forms of oppressions and injustice is a thing of the past. How do you expect me as a part of the future of this country to still believe in a country who thinks they have the right through CBN to freeze my account for no just cause,” she said.
Oduala said she agreed to be a youth representative on the Lagos judicial panel to show that the protest was not to fight the government.
She however, lamented that the government sees her existence as a threat despite how she struggles to make ends meet.
“Amongst other demands, we called for a probe into the killings and torture of people. The government agreed to setting up judicial panels. To assure young people of the independency and fairness of the panel, after nominations, I took up the role as a youth representative at the detriment of my education, personal life and family. I did this to make peace. I did to ensure our young people understood that the only way to create a better and safer Nigeria is to do things lawfully. Why am I still being targeted for lending the government my good will?”
“I am not a part of Nigeria’s political or business elite—I have no relatives in government or family members with enough wealth to sway powerful individuals. I am just an ordinary young Nigerian. I study, selling hoodies and other clothing for ₦5,000 to pay my school fees. I also do the odd bit of freelancing, taking on some brand influencing work to ensure my family doesn’t suffer. Somehow, however, my existence threatens my government, the fact that I have a voice is enough for them to try to silence me.
“In the Nigeria I am voicing out for, it wouldn’t matter that I am a child of nobody coming from the average Nigerian home. The Nigeria I am voicing out for is one that prioritizes every voice, protects every inalienable right, even mine.
“I decided to use the only currency I have, my voice to speak up against extra judicial killings, torture, extortion and unjust harassment that is still happening in a democratic nation in the 21st century! The government also agreed that reform is inevitable and promised us they were going to listen, however they have refused to honor their promises while they continue to deny the lives lost and also target the same people who spoke up,” she wrote.