By Tordue Salem, Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives, under the auspices of Young Parliamentarians Forum, have urged the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, to reconvene both Houses for an emergency session on the raging EndSARs protests across the country.
The Lawmakers spoke to the Media, through their Chairman, Rep. Kabir Ibrahim Tukura on Thursday.
“The past few days have been the toughest time in our democracy, especially the horrendous loss of lives of unarmed protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday, 20‘11 of October 2020. We have observed unpleasant developments across major cities in Nigeria with scores of young people killed and many injured as a result of the ongoing #EndSARS# peaceful protest led by young people. These extrajudicial killings and Violence are highly condemnable and unacceptable.
“We have observed with dismay the recruitment and deployment of hoodlums and thugs to disrupt and hijack the protest by unpatriotic Nigerians. These have occasioned the death of innocent citizens, the destruction of government and private property and the disruption of economic activities in some cities around the country.
“Our sincere sympathy goes to the families of people who lost their lives in the process and we pray the almighty consoles them in this moment of grief. We urge the Federal Government to ensure adequate and immediate compensation to the victims of police brutality, bandin and terrorism.
“As a matter of urgency, the Nigerian Army should identify the armed men in Military uniform who attacked innocent protesters at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos on October 20, 2020. We also urge the Nigeria Police Force to identify officers who attacked peaceful protesters in cities across the states. Similarly, the sponsors of the human rights violations and violence perpetrated by thugs across the Federation must be made to face the full wrath of the law. We urge the Federal Government to accede to the demands of the youth and ensure comprehensive reforms in the security sector.
“As Young Parliamentarians, we are committed to the yearnings of Nigerian youths and to this end, we will be taking all necessary actions within our purview to ensure justice and accountability.
“In view Of the foregoing, the Young Parliamentarians Forum of the 9th Assembly ashes to submit as follows:
“The National Assembly should as a matter of urgency reconvene for an emergency session to discuss the alleged killings of peaceful protesters. In addition, an investigative public hearing on the loss of lives and human rights violation resulting from police brutality is highly recommended”, the lawmakers stated.
The lawmakers also sought speedy reforms in the Police, the inauguration of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, NHRC and Police Council boards.
“The epicentre of the current protest is the acts of brutality by the police and its proscribed tactical unit, SARS. The Federal Government must demonstrate a genuine commitment to reforming the police and the protection of the youth and citizens from police brutality which has resulted in several avoidable deaths.
“Immediate inauguration of the Nigeria Police Council and the constitution of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission which should include youth representation”, the group noted.
The lawmakers also sought an end to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU strike and one-year tuition waiver for students of universities in the country.
” We commend efforts by the leadership of the National Assembly towards resolving the lingering ASUU strike and further call on the Federal Government, to take concrete steps to end the incessant strikes by ASUU.
“This should include sustained dialogues and negotiations to accede to the demands of ASUU to enable students to go back to school. The Government should consider one-year tuition fees palliative as compensation to the students who have been disadvantaged due to the prolonged strike action”.
They also called “on the Federal Government to revamp and put into use all the 11 Citizenship and Leadership Training Centres across the country establish new ones in the states where there is none. > Call on the Federal Government to revamp and establish Skill Acquisition and Vocational Training Centres across the Federation. > Call on the Federal Government to strengthen its social security net to address the peculiar needs of the Youth, Women, Aged and Persons living with Disabilities”.
They also called “on Federal Government to improve access of young persons and women to government and decision-making process.
“Also, the government should empower youth and women through special social development and mentorship programs.
” There is the need for enlightenment programs by agencies such as National Orientation Agency (NOA) to educate and enlighten the general public on the dangers of drug abuse, sexual harassment and gender-based violence”.
The legislators concluded that ” the current situation begs for dialogue, justice and reconciliation. We implore the federal government to provide leadership in national reconciliation, peace and justice through inclusive and transparent dialogues with citizens and ensure individuals and institutions who violate constitutionally guaranteed rights are held to account. We urge the protesters to remain law-abiding citizens and peaceful. The YPF strongly call on the President, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to address the Nation as a matter of urgency”.