…Condemns attempts to disrupt peaceful protests
…Lists ways to halt #EndSARS protests
By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN has advised the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, to suspend efforts made towards the establishment of the Special Weapons And Tactical, SWAT, unit of the Nigerian Police Force.
CAN President, Revd. Samson Ayokunle, gave the advice on Monday in a statement while suggesting ways to end the ongoing protests against police brutality and extra-judicial killings.
The IGP Mohammed Adamu had set up the new Police unit to take over from the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS).
But the umbrella Christian body has rejected the move. Ayokunle argued that the SWAT may not produce desired results unless sanity was first restored to the Police, and all erring officers of the disbanded SARS were sanctioned.
Youths, promoting the #EndSARS hashtag, had launched non-stop protests nationwide; demanding a comprehensive reform of the police.
But they have on several occasions clashed with either security agents or hoodlums opposed to their street demonstrations. And so, CAN also condemned, in strong terms, the attempts made to stop or disrupt the peaceful #EndSARS protests.
He said, “We condemn in the strongest terms every attempt being made to stop or disrupt the peaceful protest, which is lawfully allowed and guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We are monitoring the #EndSARS protests nationwide and we are praying that their unprecedented efforts to have a decent society will not be in vain.
“Therefore, we call on the Military and Police to resist the temptation to intervene in a civil protest in order to avoid harvest of deaths.
“We have had enough of mass burials without fighting a war in the recent past.”
‘Ways to halt #EndSARS protests’
“So, CAN is calling on the Federal and state governments to walk their talk with a view to restoring the lost TRUST to the governed by doing the following:
“Immediate inauguration of Judicial or Quasi-Judicial panel with representatives of the Civil society at all levels with a view to bringing all the criminals in uniform to book.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately send an Appropriations bill to the National Assembly for the compensation of all victims of the Police brutality and other extrajudicial killings in the last 10 years.
“Fresh recruitment in the police should take background check of those being recruited into consideration so as to avoid recruiting criminals into the force as we had seen.
“Similarly, semi-literates should never be recruited into the Police again. Well educated, morally and mentally sound people are good enough to wear a police uniform in Nigeria.
“All the three tiers of the government should stop paying lip service to the welfare of the people and immediately begin the welfare programme that will bring succour to the suffering masses occasioned by the increase in the fuel pump price and the power tariff.
“Each of the 36 state governors, including the FCT Minister should set up a committee to dialogue with the representatives of the protesters to douse the tension in the country.
“The Inspector-General of Police should suspend the implementation of the establishment of SWAT until sanity is restored to the Police. All the officers and rank and file who were members of SARS should be screened administratively to unmask the rotten eggs among them with a view to sanctioning them.
“The mass unemployment of our teeming youths who graduated from higher institutions and the continued closure of our universities as a result of unresolved University lecturers welfare and infrastructural demands have fuelled this current #EndSars protest.
“The government should wake up now and provide a future for our youths through the provision of gainful employment or enabling environment for their employment.
“Federal government should do the NEEDFUL to reopen all the closed tertiary institutions in the country with a view to addressing the rot in our educational system. All things necessary should be done urgently to resolve the deadlock in negotiations between the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria and the Federal Government.
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“Our roads must be made motor-able throughout the country for ease of moving human and economic goods while uninterrupted electricity supply should be ensured among other infrastructures requiring urgent attention in our nation.
“Our leaders need to wake up to pragmatic and task-oriented leadership now so as to save our nation.”
The Church, however, commended the youths advocating for the reform of the Police nationwide for embracing a peaceful and civil approach.
“We are not unaware of your sacrifices; time, money and other risks in your quest for a reformed Police and an egalitarian society.
“CAN acknowledge and appreciates your patriotic agitation in a peaceful manner despite the pockets of attack against you either by the Police or some hired thugs to disrupt the exercise,” the statement read.
Ayokunle call on all churches in the country to pray for the deliverance of the country from all self-inflicted problems.
“God will surely deliver us from all these hardships as our leaders resolve to make us proud of them by being more accountable to the citizens of this nation in Jesus’ name,” he added.