Reaction to The Endsars protests
In the last 10 days our nation has witnessed the agitations by our youths calling for an end to Police brutality via the ENDSARS protests. Their generation is desperate for a country that works, one that nurtures their dreams and aspirations. A nation we can all be proud of. May I seize this moment to empathize with our members, especially Graduate and Student members who have been victims ofpolice harassment and brutality on account of such basic acts as carrying a laptop or other devicescritical to Architectural education. We have also requested our State Chapters to compile a list ofaffected members for submission to the respective State Judicial panels on Police Brutality recently inaugurated in States across the nation. On our part arrangements have been made to provide somemeasure of succor to our members with confirmed cases of police harassment and brutality under the Benevolent Fund of the NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS.
The NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS recognizes the pain of our teeming youth and the significance of their cries. It is indeed a clarion call for an overhaul of our Law & Order, Healthcare, Education, Culture and Sports institutions to a level able to meet the yearnings and aspirations of ouryouth and Nigerians in general. The Nigerian youth no doubt has been resilient and has held their own despite the odds, excelling in the academia, sports, entertainment, technology and culture and theiragitation must be seen through the eyes of a generation eager to excel and be heard.
At a time when our nation’s economy faces severe challenges occasioned by the COVID 19 Pandemicwe must be ready to make judicious use of the little at our disposal. As part of our support for theongoing reforms of the Federal Government we are particularly concerned with the state of thebuildings and facilities which drive the key sectors and intends to partner with government at all levels and other professionals in the built environment to commence a nationwide public audit for all Police colleges, stations, barracks and related facilities, prisons, courts, healthcare facilities, public schools(Primary and Secondary), public squares, parks and gardens, cultural centres as well as sportsfacilities. This exercise will be carried out across the 36 States of our Federation and the FCT by our Special Projects Committee and task teams setup in all our State Chapters in conjunction with the relevant government personnel. The outcome of this exercise will be communicated to government at all levels with a view to advising and guiding informed interventions aimed at addressing the fundamental shortcomings identified.
Specifically we note the correlation between nonfunctional and dilapidated police stations and barracks that are unfit for human habitation to the violent disposition of some personnel of the Nigeria Police. We will therefore liase with the Police authorities at the National and State levels to design modern facilities that will be conducive for the discharge of their mandates. We also note the currentpractice of providing separate and isolated barracks for officers, men and women of the Nigeria Police. This is a colonial hangover which is inconsistent with modern policing strategies which seek integration with the community. We call for the gradual discontinuation of this policy and to replace it with the provision of long term concessionary house ownership schemes for personnel in the communities where they serve.
In the meantime, government should embark on the rehabilitation of existing police barracks across thenation as part of the intended social public scheme. This shall have the added benefit of providing employment for thousands of our youth across the nation.
We salute the courage and largely peaceful conduct of the youth during the period of their protest and encourage their continued engagement with government.
ARC. SONNY S. T. ECHONO FNIA, PNIA
NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS