Nigeria: #EndSARS - Defence Minister Warns Protesters Against 'Breaching National Security'

19 October 2020

While the federal government is trying to placate protesters from continuing their protests for police reforms, a minister has warned the protesters against 'breaching national security.'

Various government officials including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu have released different statements appealing to protesters to end their march and listing what the government is doing to meet the demands of the protesters.

The defence minister was, however, more concerned about warning the defenders.

This warning was issued on Sunday by the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, when the National Coordinator Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), Danladi Pasali, led his team to the Ministry of Defence, Ship House, Abuja.

The minister's warning was contained in a statement by Mohammad Abdulkadri, the spokesperson of the ministry.

The statement did not contain exact details of what the minister said, beyond saying the minister warned the protesters against 'breaching national security.'

According to Mr Abdulkadri, the minister assured the group of supporting President Muhammadu Buhari's government with all it requires in actualising lofty programmes to raise the bar of national security.

He also described Mr Buhari as "a forthright leader and thanked members of the Buhari Campaign Organisation for promoting his political ideology, democratic governance, Rule of Law and philosophy."

"He assured them of the support of the Ministry of Defence in actualising their lofty programmes in raising the bar of national security."

"He said they should leverage on their structure in the 774 Local Council areas and 36 States of the Federation as well as the Federal Capital Territory to gather intelligence and channel it to the appropriate Authorities for action."

In his response, Mr Pasali said BCO will render their service to "the relevant authorities to burst crimes capable of threatening peace and security in the country."

Previous Warning to Protesters

Earlier, the Nigerian Army warned that the military would punish "subversive elements" and "trouble makers" and on Saturday, the army announced its decision to embark on "cyberwarfare" operation.

The decision of the army has triggered uproar on social media with many Nigerians saying military intervention is likely to bring negative consequences that could be bad for Nigeria.

For over two weeks, the youth have been on the streets in major cities calling for an end to a notorious police unit, SARS. Despite the disbandment of the unit, the youth continued with their agitation on the basis that many of their demands are yet to be met.

So far, the protesters have been largely peaceful.

Some of the demands yet to be met according to the protesters include prosecution of killer cops, the release of all protesters in detention and the total overhaul of the police.

Over 12 persons have been killed during the protest so far.

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