The #EndSARS memorial which has been gaining momentum among many Nigerians, home and abroad, have gotten the attention of the former Senate President, Senator Olubukola Saraki, who have now stated that the #EndSARS protest of October 10, 2020, must not be forgotten by Nigerians. ayokinews.com reports
The EndSARS protest which rocked Nigeria and many part of the world last year, saw many youths take to the streets to protest against the excessive profiling and brutality of the Police.
The protest which lasted for four (4) days, was met with a show of force from the Nigerian military at the Lekki Toll Gate, as the Nigerian security operatives were seen on TV and other social media platforms using live ammunitions on innocent protesters despite waving the country’s National flag.
In a statement released by the former Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, to commemorate the one year anniversary of the EndSARS protest that saw to the loss of lives of many Nigerian youths, he stated that his prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives, loved ones, sustained injuries, or sustained other losses at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 10, 2020.
The statement reads in part, “On the first anniversary of October 20th, 2020, like many Nigerians, I have struggled with coming to terms with the sobering events of that day.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives, loved ones, sustained injuries, or sustained other losses at the Lekki Toll Gate and at various locations in Lagos and around the country when security agencies were deployed to clamp down on the protests and non-state actors took advantage to cause chaos and mayhem.”
Saraki further stated that it is worrying that despite the EndSARS protest that rocked the Nigeria, nothing has really been done to resolve the problems that caused the protests in the first place.
“It is worrying that despite the acceptance of the ‘5 for 5 Demands’, nothing has really been done to resolve the issues that caused the protests in the first place. None of the policemen accused of torturing and extrajudicially murdering Nigerian citizens have been brought to justice, there has been no marked improvement in the funding or quality of equipment available to the Nigerian Police Force and these incidents of torture continue in many security facilities nationwide.
“Furthermore, none of the perpetrators of the attacks on Nigerians exercising their rights to peaceful assembly have been arrested or prosecuted, despite many of them being identified. Similarly, none of the perpetrators of mindless acts of destruction and looting of property worth billions of Naira have been arrested or brought to justice. Instead, several young people are still held in detention facilities across the country without trial.”
The Senate President stated that instead of the police to protect the lives and properties of the citizens, it has now resorted to threatening and killing of the people.
“It appears that the lessons that ought to be learned from the events last year have been lost. This is why rather than mobilize to safeguard and protect citizens, the Nigerian Police have resorted to threats and mobilization to prevent further expressions of dissatisfaction with the status quo. It is my sincere hope that common sense will prevail and the young people who seek to hold events to mark the first anniversary of the events at the Lekki Toll Gate will be allowed to peacefully gather and be protected from any forms of violence.
“The carnage that followed the attacks on protesters by security agencies and non-state actors must stand as a lesson to governments at all levels that they must learn to engage with the Nigerian populace in a manner that preserves and respects their constitutional rights and freedoms or face the risk of creating an atmosphere that enables a breakdown of law and order,” he said.
Saraki further appealed to the Nigerian federal government to see to the reformation of the Police force and also the Judiciary.
“Today represents an opportunity for the government to begin the police and justice sector reforms our country so badly needs. It is an opportunity I appeal to the government to take. This is the only way we can honor the memory of those who gave their lives for this cause,” Saraki said.