Says police yet to change attitude

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As Nigerians mark maiden anniversary of #EndSARS protest, Wednesday, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, has condemned arrest of protesters and stoppage of protest by the Nigerian Police Force.

Expressing dismay over the attitude of the Nigerian Police Force, the Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, while speaking with Vanguard said the constitutional rights of Nigerians to express their views and demands via peaceful protest cannot be trampled upon by any security agency.

Ene said: “On this day my heart goes to those who lost their family members during the #EndSARS protest, those suffering as a result of the protest last year.

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“Statistics is still showing that Nigeria is one of the worst in Africa and is behind another country and that statistic is available with the National Bureau of Statistics.

“The unemployment rate is till very high, inflation continues to rise, and I am not seeing changes since the last year about the complaints of the youth, not seeing changes in terms of police assessment on brutality level, no seeing changes in the condition of the Police Force itself, and not much has changed. We thought by now there will be a lot of changes in terms of orientation.

“There is a lot of policemen and women that are doing some very hard work, and that we can see on their set but that is not playing well for the many that are the road get to harass people, but here are some kind ones but there are some really nasty ones, and this is showing on the commemoration of #EndSARS on the handling of some civil society actors.

“People have their right, the Freedom of Movement is there, and as a commemoration is an anniversary when the youths of this country rose with one voice by themselves not adults to come to challenge the kind of systems that are running.

“So for the youths want to go out and commemorate the police don’t have the right to prevent people, talk to people with very harsh tone, and all those things are not necessary. 

“If people are peaceful why do they arrest them, and what do they do for you to arrest them? And that kind of attitude has not changed.”

She further stated that the protest was as well to better the condition the Nigerian Police Force finds itself.

“They are challenging the treatment of even the police force, and the Police Commission needs to look at what is happening in the Police Force, their welfare from fight from their training colleges, institutes down to their formation how the police are treated right through to the roadblock, the kind of social amenities available to them, and these have not really changed”, she pointed.

She (Obi) also called on leaders to give desired attention to the youths  instead of allowing them to become threat to the peace, unity and development of the country.

“I plead with our leaders to take our youths seriously and to let them know that that is the workforce for Nigeria, economy and they have the right to make complaints, and Nigeria needs to get it better, the political class needs to look at this country, and look at the human capital, the minds of millions of young people that we are turning out”, she said.    

Vanguard News Nigeria

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