…Protest, a lesson for future
…Launches UN plus offer to support FG’s ESP
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
DEPUTY Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, Monday said that everyone has a right to demonstrate peacefully and make some demands from their government.
Mrs. Mohammed, who was a former Minister of Environment in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration before her appointment also said that the recent protest against Police brutality embarked upon by youths was a lesson for the future, especially on how the young ones should be engaged in such issues.
Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mohammed said there was a launch of the UN Plus Offer which was aimed at supporting the Economic Sustainability Plan.
Asked the position of the UN on the #EndSARS protest, she said, “The UN stance is clear, like the UN Secretary General had said in his speech, we believe everyone has a right to demonstrate peacefully for those issues they want to raise with their government.
“There is a social contract in place between the government and the people and it is important to have that freedom of speech provided it is done peacefully.
“I think in the case where we heard that lives and property were lost, it was unfortunate and we believe that in addressing the demands that were made by young people, perhaps this is a lesson we can take into the future and how we engage in such issues.
“I have to say that there are lot of protests around the world that have been exacerbated by COVID because, COVID has left people out of work, left people hopeless because of the socio-economic impact.
“And in many of those protests, we have not seen government turn around in response as quickly as this government did. So, the UN response to this is that, we must make sure that what happened in this protest, we are able to address those issues, those gaps and begin the reform.
“In fact I will say the transformations that are needed to address many of these outstanding issues and for that we need to engage youths, we need to engage government. I think what has been put in place are those building blocs and the support of the UN has been asked to make sure that those convenience can happen.
“And that we can build back trust and have confidence building measures in order to get to where we need, to where the social contract between government and the people is firm, trust worthy and working for the benefits of the Nigerian people.”
On some of the discussions with the President, she said,” We did raise while we were with Mr. President the issue around the recent challenges of EndSARS protests that happened in the country. We all are alarmed and of course support the country in trying to get back on track.
“Young people and their demands for social justice, good governance are all legitimate ones and must be done peacefully. But we were all disturbed by the damage level, loss of lives and we continue to condole with those families who suffer those loses.
“Today was one in which we encourage efforts that are being made by government to that process of engaging with the demands that have been made by the young people. It’s a start on that journey of reforms that are needed in the security sector but also root causes to the issues that are happening today, which is about investing in development.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the government of Nigeria. We are happy today (yesterday) to launch the UN Plus Offer, which has to do again with supporting Economic Sustainability Plan over the next two years so that we can respond a little bit better.”