Nigeria: Sultan, Ayokunle Tell Buhari to Act

22 October 2020

Abuja, Abeokuta, Kano, Ibadan, Abuja — The Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) under the leadership of Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar III, and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the raging #EndSARS nationwide protests.

The duo in a statement said they noticed with concern the current waves of protest happening around the country even as they commended the Nigerian youths for crying out against police brutality.

"However, we are concerned that if the protest is not rested now and the demands of the protesters squarely and quickly addressed, such protests may be hijacked and is being hijacked already by the miscreants and unscrupulous individuals in society, making it violent, leading to more bloodshed and paralysis of social and economic activities," they said.

"In view of the foregoing, NIREC calls on the government to expedite action and bring a quick and peaceful resolution to the situation on the ground as any democratic government would do by addressing the agitations of the youths, especially through the reformation of the police force so as to rid it of the criminal elements spoiling the image of the police in Nigeria.

"In the same vein, NIREC urges the Nigerian youths to back down on the protests and give the government time to respond to their demands. All the religions we practice in Nigeria believe in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, especially through constructive dialogue," the two leaders said.

Abdulsalami, Kukah want end to protests, violence

The National Peace Committee (NPC) on Wednesday called for an immediate end to the ongoing #EndSARS nationwide protests and violence across the country.

This call was contained in a statement in Abuja, jointly signed by former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, chairman and convener of the peace committee.

They expressed shock, deep sorrow and sadness over recent events across the country in the wake of the protests by the youths.

"We have seen ugly scenes of activities that are totally unrelated to the goals of the youth protesters. This is very sad, but we call for calm among our people and appeal to the president to ensure that the rights of citizens are fully respected and protected," they said.

According to them, the right to protest is considered a cardinal principle in human existence wherever individuals live together as a family or a community and that every community is formed and strengthened by the contribution of all its members.

"Therefore, when an individual or some members feel aggrieved, it is their right to seek redress within the rules guiding their existence and that of the community.

"It is against this backdrop that we must see the #EndSARS protests by the youths in our dear country as a legitimate pursuit. Like millions of other Nigerians, we all concede that it is within the rights of our youths to express their grievances with the system.

"However, the right to protest is not an absolute right independent of the machinery and laws that govern a given society. Whenever an individual or a group protests in the face of an injury, it is often based on the fact that other remedies have not worked.

"Now, there is a need to pause for many reasons. The federal government has apologised and this is commendable. The state governors have responded promptly by acknowledging the genuine grievances of the youths, and thirdly, the Inspector General of Police has also been quite decisive," they said.

UN, EU, Biden, Clinton demand probe into killings of EndSARS protesters

The United Nations, European Union, former U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden and former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton have condemned the escalation of violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests across the country, resulting in killings and destruction of properties.

In separate statements, they urged the Nigerian authorities to investigate these incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable.

A statement by Stephane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General urged the security forces to act with maximum restraint while calling on protestors to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence.

The statement said, "The Secretary-General is following recent developments in Nigeria and calls for an end to reported police brutality and abuses.

"He condemns the violent escalation on 20 October in Lagos, which resulted in multiple deaths and caused many injuries.

"He expresses his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He calls on the Nigerian authorities to investigate these incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable."

Also, the European Union described as alarming the killings of dozens of #EndSARS protesters across Nigeria and urged that the perpetrators be held accountable.

In a statement by the EU High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, the union said: "It is alarming to learn that several people have been killed and injured during the ongoing protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria.

"It is crucial that those responsible for abuses be brought to justice and held accountable.

"Following the government's will to deliver on reforms, we expect to see decisive implementation."

Joe Biden

Joe Biden on his part urged President Buhari and the Nigerian military to cease the violent crackdown on the #EndSARS protesters.

Biden, in the statement, said: "The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy."

He also asked the federal government to "engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria."

Hillary Clinton in a Twitter post asked the security forces to stop the killing of the protesters.

"I'm calling on @mbuhari and the @hqnigerianarmy to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters," she tweeted.

Similarly, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, condemned the killing of #EndSARS protesters and asked President Buhari to ensure that the lives of citizens are protected.

Welby, in a Twitter post, said: "I condemn in the strongest terms the reported deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in #Lagos and other parts of #Nigeria.

"I have urged President Muhammadu Buhari directly to ensure that lives are protected - and I say that again now. I mourn for Nigeria. May God save Nigeria."

We're back to Abacha days - Soyinka

The Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has condemned soldiers' shooting on #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos, saying Nigeria has returned to the era of former Military Head of State, Sani Abacha.

He also called on governors of states where curfews were declared in the wake of violence, to demand the withdrawal of soldiers immediately.

Soyinka said this in a statement titled "DÉJÀ VU - In Tragic Vein", personally signed and issued in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The literary icon said with the shooting which, "inflicted a near incurable wound on the community psyche", the Army had "replaced" the defunct Special Anti -Robbery Squads (SARS).

You can't resolve violence with violence - Dahiru Bauchi warns FG

A popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, has told the federal government that using violence is not an appropriate solution to the ongoing protests in Nigeria.

The cleric stated this in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service monitored in Kano.

He said that no one can use violence to end violence, and therefore called on the government to adopt a peaceful way of ending the protest by responding to the demands of the protesters.

"On this protest that is ongoing, I am calling on the government to think about the responsibilities of the citizens and provide solutions. They need good advisers who can offer sincere advice and it should listen.

"Government should listen to the protesters and provide what they want so that peace would be maintained," the cleric said, even as he called on the protesters to stop and table their problems to the government.

Obasanjo blames Buhari

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed President Buhari for the ongoing violence.

Obasanjo said the president and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resulting to the use of force.

According to him, great harm had been done but it could be redressed before it completely spiraled out of control.

The presidency has not responded to Mr Obasanjo's claim but had earlier said it was committed to meeting all the protesters' demands.

NBA, African lawyers want 'culprits' prosecuted

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) have condemned the alleged use of live ammunition by security agencies on #EndSARS unarmed protesters in the country.

In a statement by its president, Olumide Akpata, the NBA called on the military to immediately identify and name the officers involved in the killings at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos on Tuesday night for prosecution and dismissal from service.

"The NBA shall immediately commence legal proceedings at all relevant fora (both locally and internationally) against the Nigerian military, and other relevant authorities, on behalf of the families of the victims, for abuse of power, disregard of rules of engagement and the infringement of the fundamental rights (including the right to life) of the affected citizens," the statement reads," he said.

Similarly, PALU in a statement signed by its President, Emeka Obegolu said the government of Nigeria is aware of the 1990 United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which provides that "in the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent necessary."

Buhari yet to speak

Presidency Buhari is yet to directly speak to Nigerians over the ongoing violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests across the country.

There was no reply to a text message sent to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina on why Buhari did not address the nation on the current situation despite calls from Nigerians.

Earlier on Wednesday, Adesina had in a statement renewed the commitment of the Buhari's administration to the implementation of lasting police reforms in Nigeria.

Abbas Jimoh, Abdullateef Salau, Peter Moses, Zahraddeen Yakubu, Jeremiah Oke, Muideen Olaniyi & John Chuks Azu

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