#EndSARS: Protesters’ refusal to bulge, indication of lack of trust in govt ― HEDA

A human rights advocacy group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has said that the refusal of #EndSARS protesters to end the protests, despite assurances of government’s commitment to accede to their demands is a resounding testimony of lack of trust in government.

The protesters’ demand that the government should disband of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), which they accused of being brutish in the way and manner operatives of the police unit carry out their activities, had already been acceded by the authorities in charge.

Chairman of the group, Olanrewaju Suraju, said this while addressing newsmen at the public presentation of a report titled: “Leadership Approval Rating: Citizens Perception of Leadership and Governance in Nigeria in Lagos.”

According to Suraju, the unfolding public protest against police brutality under the campaign slogan #EndSARS has practically demonstrated and confirmed a critical finding of the research, showing citizen’s lack of trust in government.

HEDA boss said that the research was informed by the need to examine the level of response of the Federal Government to the COVID-19 pandemic in particular and citizens’ demand in general, adding that it was conducted to also measure the trust of citizens in the government and measure the values credibility currency of government with the citizens.

He expressed the belief that the outcomes would surely strengthen public participation in the democratic process and provide a challenge in measuring the level of government response to the COVID-19 scourge.

Suraju also stated that respondents in the survey knocked the Federal Government and state authorities for poor responses to a pandemic that had hit social, economic and cultural lives of millions of people all over the world.

“The survey revealed respondents’ dissatisfaction with various responses from the Federal and state governments. According to respondents, public officials did not do enough to meet global standards rated in their poor management of information, public education, swift responses to public health needs, sharing of palliatives and constructive engagement of the critical sector.

Speaking further he said that the report seeks to set the foundation for a biannual citizen’s perception survey to be conducted by HEDA Resource Centre for the purpose of challenging the government on its policies and programmes.

“The survey will help mobilize citizens for popular participation in government and demand for accountability the implementation of policies and programmes.

“We hope the affected governments will see this report as a challenge that has to be overcome. As we speak today, with a declining rate of COVID-19 tests across the country, there is a high probability that if similar research is conducted today the result is likely to be worse,” he stated.

Also speaking, Babajide Ogunsanwo of Fact Box, who spoke on methodology and findings regarding the survey, said that the survey conducted within August 7 and 18, 2020 and targeted at 1300 respondents recorded 1150 responses.

He said 50 per cent of respondents above 50 years of age said the Federal Government did not fairly well handle the pandemic while 50 per cent of female respondents said the Federal Government badly handled the responses.

“Out of 420 respondents with 262 male and 155 female, 104 respondents said the government fairly badly handled the response while 104 female, 231 male said the responses were badly handled. The report contains an analysis and evaluation of the various citizens’ perspectives on government responses. Most people from 34 to 64 years old felt the responses of the government were bad,” he said.

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