Urges FG law enforcement agencies to deal with civilians with the utmost courtesy
By Demola Akinyemi – Ilorin
The Minister of State for Transport, Senator Gbemisola Saraki has expressed her sadness at the aftermath of the #ENDSARS protests, which according to her began as a peaceful demonstration.
While noting that young people have the fundamental right to peaceful protests enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, he urged all federal government security agencies to employ diplomacy and the utmost civility working in their dealings with the civilian population to ensure the peace and sanity in Nigeria.
The minister spoke on Friday at a round table dialogue with young people and women in Kwara state held at the hotels in Kwara Ilorin.
Several invited representatives from youth organizations in the state expressed their views on the challenges facing governments and law enforcement agencies in their efforts to secure employment and live a better life.
Saraki told the youth that no one should be held responsible for the current pathetic state Nigeria is in, saying: “We should not play a blame game, we are all guilty, rather we should all chart a way forward for Nigeria.”
The minister said: “Nigeria witnessed unprecedented upheaval by youth during the #EndSARS protests. I recognized the youth for demonstrating peacefully as enshrined in Section 40 of our constitution. I must say that I am saddened by the aftermath of what began as a peaceful demonstration.
“I urged the security agencies and other necessary bodies to continue to use diplomacy and the utmost courtesy in working to ensure peace and sanity in our land.”
However, Saraki said that President Muhammadu Buhari, long before the start of the protest, had ordered ministers to return to their various constituencies and engage stakeholders on how to make the country work better for everyone.
She said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has shown will and determination to eradicate poverty and unemployment by implementing measures and initiatives aimed primarily at the youth, women and the most vulnerable in our society.”
The coordinator of the #ENDSARS protesters in the state, Ms Saadat Bibire, said there were clear indications from authorities that young people are still being taken for granted.
Saadat said that only one of the five #ENDSARS lawsuits, the creation of an investigation panel, is being investigated by state governments, while the police were still arresting its members as of Thursday, while the members’ accounts are frozen.
Human rights activist and popular online journalist, Ilorin-based editor of Freshinsight Online, Comrade Rasheed Akogun said that all officers of untrained security agencies in the country over the years show a false impression that they are superior to the civilians whose resources are being used to sustain them, saying now is the time to change that orientation.
Rasheed, an acclaimed member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) criticized the ruling party for its continued efforts to crack down on social media, recalling that it helped the party enter government and saying it is unacceptable.