President Muhammadu Buhari must respond to peaceful protesters’ demands – before it’s too late
By Ene Obe, country director of ActionAid Nigeria
Protests in Nigeria to end police brutality have moved from being a social media campaign to a peaceful protest by Nigerians across the globe in the last 13 days, with clear demands on the abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) accused of unlawful arrests, torture, and extra-judicial killings.
ActionAid Nigeria has observed that the peaceful protest is gaining more momentum across the country, with young people airing their grievances on rights violations and the need for an overhaul of the country’s security and governance architecture.
However, the latest twist and turns in the ongoing protest are cause for concern and swift action before the situation degenerates into anarchy. We’ve seen hijacks by unknown elements with unending attacks on peaceful protesters; the attack on the governor of Osun State; the loss of lives and property of protesters and innocent citizens; and most recently the prison break, and destruction of government properties in Edo State; and the multitude of cars burnt in Apo, Abuja.
ActionAid Nigeria is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to fully address the nation in a national broadcast as a Father, Leader, and the President of Nigeria, with the mandate of the people to manage the affairs of the country and give clear-cut responses to the demands of the protesters, before it is too late.
Nigerians anticipate clear plans, timelines, and commitments, which will be in form of a pact with the citizens. President Buhari should see this as an opportunity to write his name in the sands of time by starting the process of transforming this country especially by responding to the demands of citizens.
ActionAid Nigeria also calls on security agencies to keep securing the streets to get unscrupulous elements with illegitimate interests away from peaceful protests, while respecting the rights of peaceful protesters.
We applaud the resolve of Nigerian youths leading the revival across the country and the resolute to hold government to account. However, it is pertinent that decorum is maintained while resisting any calculated attempts by unknown elements to disrupt the just cause for total reformation of our country, Nigeria.
This statement was first published here by ActionAid Nigeria.