John Odubela, SAN gives perspective on how FG should handle EndSARS promoters and protesters
By Onozure Dania
“I think the Federal Government needs to have a rethink on some of the steps that are being taken that can provoke the re-emergence of this group. You will recollect that the protests were well organized and non-violent until it was hijacked by those who became violent and started looting private shops, businesses and destroying government and private properties which all meaning Nigerians condemned.
But I think the protesters of the EndSARS were very civil and at the time they presented their demands to the government, the government promised to look into their demands.
“I think what the government needs to do is to engage them in discussions and see how some of their demands can be met and if there are mistakes made by them in the course of the protests the government can equally point them out to guide future occurrences. Because whether we like it or not the citizens have their rights to peaceful protests. The government is bound to protect and provide security for them in the course of the protests. What I still don’t understand is what the government wants to achieve when some of the promoters accounts are been frozen.
“This in itself is a breach of the rights of such people except what the government is saying is that those accounts are suspect of some fraudulent activities and as such they want to investigate them. Even at that you can investigate without freezing such accounts. On the arrest of some promoters too I will believe it’s merely invitational so as to engage them except what the government is saying is that some crimes have been committed by such people and for which the government can investigate and if established can prosecute.
“So I believe we still require further details so as to know the true position and I believe the government owe the citizens such information because in the absence of such information coming from the government then people begin to carry false or fake news which are easily disseminated and could lead to unrest.
On the ongoing probe panels, I believe also that such details of the arrest and the facts of the frozen of accounts can also be brought before the panels by those affected and I am sure appropriate decisions can be taken by the panels. So I am of the view that all parties need to calm down and allow the various panels to do their jobs and come out with appropriate recommendations that will prevent future occurrences of such.