End-SARS Protest: Nigerian Youths Table a 7-Point Demand from the Buhari Government
by Bridget Edokwe
We recognize that this moment is the culmination of decades of dissatisfaction over the decay and corruption of our dear country, Nigeria.
We find the unhealthy haste to fashion a unit termed “SWAT” to be a misrepresentation of the 5for5 demand. It is not enough.
This protest is beyond #EndSARS, #EndSWAT, #EndPoliceBrutality. This movement is for the soul of Nigeria. We are demanding a systemic overhaul of governance and institutional reforms as the barest minimum. We are better than what obtains presently; we demand progress.
We are not vain agitators. We are clear-eyed youths and professionals in our respective fields who are tired of the way and manner our dear country has been run aground by successive administrations. We cannot idly stand by whilst our future and that of our children are mortgaged.
Below is the updated 7-point demand that concerned citizens are asking from the government.
INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS (SECURITY)
That the 5-point demand to release arrested protesters, compensate families of victims, investigate and prosecute all reports of misconduct, proscribe SARS and review the welfare of police be implemented immediately.
However, we believe the systemic rot in the police is widespread across government institutions. Therefore, we urgently demand immediate Institutional reform across all federal government institutions, agencies and parastatals, especially focused on national security.
The focus will be on improved welfare and terms of service for the police, military and all law enforcement agencies, provide body-worn cameras for operation, refurbished housing, health, academic and pre- and post-retirement life insurance policy for the rank-and-file personnel.
Also, reforms on adherence to the laws guiding discipline and prosecution of erring servicemen should be aimed at extinguishing all notions of impunity.
COST OF GOVERNANCE
We have watched over the years the waste associated with governing Nigeria. We have noted the duplication and unprofessionalism in the civil service and across all strata.
We demand an urgent budgetary framework with 50% capital expenditure and 50% recurrent expenditure in all appropriation bills.
We demand a drastic reduction in the cost of governance. We also demand that the National Assembly be the first by being streamlined into a unicameral legislative and be further stripped down to become a part-time job.
The huge salaries and benefits accorded them by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) should be reduced to the barest minimum.
There had been several constitutional reviews where youths were obviously absent, by acts of omission or commission or both. The time has come for an informed and progressive participation by the Nigerian youths.
The Nigerian constitution, as it exists presently, does not serve all Nigerians. A more robust and engaged constitution designed and approved by all Nigerians will serve the nation best.
We, therefore, demand an urgent referendum, within 90 days, to begin the line-by-line review, reconstruction and upgrade of the extant constitution to be more functional for a 21st Century nation. The selection process for this referendum will have 50% of young people under 60 nominated by their peers in a transparent, judicious and fair process.
We demand that credence be given to citizenship over indigeneship and state of residence over the state of origin.
4. EDUCATION REFORMS
One in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is a Nigerian child. About 13.2 million Nigerian children aged 5-14 years are not in school. The impact of these numbers will be felt for generations.
We demand that a state of emergency is declared in the education sector and demand an increase in the budgetary allocation to the educational sector by 50% and to double again within the next 24 months. These funds will be used to drive the education sector to provide affordable quality education to all citizens.
A certain percentage of this allocation should be devoted to granting scholarship to outstanding Nigerians without recourse to the tribe, religion or sex.
We demand a systemic overhaul in our curriculum and method of teaching to upgrade to a digital experience.
We demand that teachers should be incentivized to attract the best brains and should be standardized and professionalized.
We demand that the parent of any child not in primary school will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
We demand that there be an annual independent external audit of fund allocation and project execution – from Government approval to disbursement across the ministry – which would further be used to publish, at least, an abridged financial statement available digitally to ensure transparency.
We demand that a state of emergency be declared in the health sector and demand an increase in the health sector’s budgetary allocation by 50%.
We demand mandatory health insurance for the vulnerable population in our society, as NHIS is not doing enough to serve all Nigerians.
We demand that adequate provision be put in place to protect the rights and privileges of physically challenged citizens in Nigeria.
We demand urgent attention to mental health and a fund to set aside to create more professionals.
We demand proper implementation of the National Health Act of 2014, including the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
We demand that there be an annual independent external audit of fund allocation and project execution: from Government approval to disbursement across the ministry, which would further be used to publish, at least, an abridged financial statement available digitally to ensure transparency.
YOUTH AFFAIRS REFORM
We have noted the giant strides made by Gen Z and millennials across the globe. Many multi-billion corporations were founded by both generations. In Nigeria, it is extremely difficult for such to occur. The enabling environment viz-a-viz investors’ and lenders’ confidence, stable interest rate and manageable inflation are in deficit in our dear nation.
We demand that a state of emergency be declared in the Ministry of Youths and Sports, Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of National Planning. We demand that this should be adequately funded. Sports Academy should be revamped.
We demand the creation of the Youth development funds dedicated to growing the creative industries and agriculture.
We demand the creation of the Youth Development Fund dedicated to growing the creative industries and agriculture.
We demand that the Not-Too-Young to run bill should be expanded to include 50% inclusion of youth under 40 in every cabinet position in government.
We demand that the youth inclusion be monitored by the FCC as they currently monitor state inclusion and the NCDMB and other stakeholders partake in this action to protect our future.
PUBLIC OFFICE REFORMS
We demand a code of conduct reforms for all elected public office holders to have themselves and their children use public schools and public hospitals ONLY. Violation of this shall result in immediate impeachment and recall of the offending politician or official.
We demand the immediate removal of the immunity clause from public office holders to make them answerable to investigations, at all times, when and where necessary.
We demand the immediate resignation of every public officer found guilty of any forms of crimes and corruption. They should step aside during the investigation process for this offense.
Implementation of full digitization of the judicial process, prison decongestion reforms, with reforms drawn from past projects like the Uwais Report, Keyamo’s ministerial screening address, strict time limits to the determination of industries litigations, etc.