EndSARS: You opened new chapter in Nigeria’s history, NGO tells youths
By Ekene Agbor, Osogbo
A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Forum For Nation Builders And Social Development has commended Nigerian youths for working towards the scrapping of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, saying they have opened a new chapter in the nation’s history.
According to the NGO, the youths have proved to Nigerians, especially the older generation that they are ready to occupy leadership positions in the country and make desired changes.
FNBS however condemned the killing of security personnel, burning of police stations attack and looting of both private and public properties by hoodlums who took advantage of the #EndSARS protests recently.
The group also bemoaned the Nigeria Army for the death of the peaceful protesters who were allegedly killed by soldiers at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on October 20, 2020.
In a press statement issued and jointly signed by the Convener of the group Mr Ayo Odeyemi and two prominent members of the NGO, Alhaji Lateef Bakare and Chief Abiola Oloke, the group called for investigation, arrest and prosecution of everybody that committed crime in the name of #EndSARS protests.
FNBS maintained that the unprovoked shooting of the Lekki protesters raised serious concerns on the tolerance of the Nigerian governments at all levels to opposing voices and legitimate expressions of divergent views.
The NGO expressed worries over the deployment of soldiers to some states as a result of looting and other violent activities that followed the #EndSARS protests.
It called for caution, orderliness, and professionalism on the part of deployed soldiers, saying that their presence on the street posed threat to Nigeria’s developing democracy.
FNBS commended the youths that participated genuinely in the #EndSARS protests across the country, despite the threats, intimidation, harassment and inconveniences.
The statement reads, “You (Nigerian youths) have opened a new chapter in the history of Nigeria as this would be the first time SARS would be scrapped in words and deeds by the Police High Command under the directive of the President”, the group stated.
“The Forum for Nation Builders & Social Development; a non-governmental, non-partisan organisation comprising men and women from diverse backgrounds but with a shared interest and focus on Nation Building, Community Service And Social Development, is constrained to speak on the state of the nation in the face of the violence, breakdown of law and order, killings, looting and wanton destruction of public and private properties.
“We note with regret and disappointment the later violent activities that crept into the hitherto peaceful and purposeful #EndSARS protests in some parts of Nigeria which included but not limited to Lagos, Abuja, Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, among other states.
“We are happy that the protest achieved its aims and the SARS unit of the NPF was scrapped and the National Human Rights Commission and some state governments have setup judicial panel of inquiry to investigate and recommend prosecution of all reported police misconducts, among other demands that the Federal Government has accepted under the 5for5 #EndSARS demand list.
“The unison which the youths spoke and their persistence and focus on their demands, has no doubt rekindled the hope of many Nigerians particularly those of the older generation that the youths are ready to take their rightful place in shaping the future of the country for greatness.
“We, however, note with great sadness the hijack of the #EndSARS protests by hoodlums and anarchists, leading to the coordinated and premeditated violence which has brought attacks on other citizens, prisons, police stations, courts, public utilities, palaces, media houses, as well as other private and public properties.
“The possibility of sponsorship by vested interests can also not be ruled out completely. The government, on its part, should use this opportunity to proactively embark on an all-encompassing review of the National Security Achitecture, condition of service of our uniformed services, especially the Nigeria Police, and bridge the gap in manning and training of the personnel of the Nigeria Police. Any reform that would bring about lasting improvement in the police service situation would also address the need for strengthening the intelligence unit of the police, incorporating an independent police.
“Government must create the right environment for business and investment to flourish as this is the only sustainable way to create employment for and positively engage our teeming youths as a way of utilising their creative youthful vigour and keep them out of mischief”.
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