OPINION | #EndSARS Movement: APC’s Offer of SWAT Cynical, Endangers the Nation, By Uche Secondus

*Prince Uche Secondus
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Being PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus’s reflections on the on going nationwide protest against Police brutality

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) salutes the courage and patriotism of Nigerian youths for standing up to defend the fundamental freedoms and dignity of Nigerian citizens. Your exemplary patriotism, using peaceful and constructive protest, to retrieve the country from the path of failures and creeping authoritarianism sends a strong message that democracy is alive in Nigeria. The fact that our youths have not submitted to cynicism and hopelessness gives us hope to continue to fight for a democracy that respects the freedom and creativity of young Nigerians.

It is indeed appalling and worrisome that government’s response to the legitimate demands of the protesters for a comprehensive reform of the police and the policing system in the country is to hurriedly recycle SARS in the form of the SWAT, thereby simply pouring the same old poisonous wine into a new wine bottle.

PDP endorses the 5-point demands of the protesters and call on the Buhari-led APC government to commence real actions towards a comprehensive reform of police and criminal justice in Nigeria. It is about time the APC government stopped this manipulation and insincerity, which it has turned to an art of governance, and honestly implement the legitimate demands of the protesters.

What is required is a comprehensive reform of policies and institutions of Nigerian police that would overhaul a mindset that appears to view all citizens as potential criminals rather than potential victims of crimes in need of their protection.

We support the call for a judicial panel of inquiry into the atrocities of the defunct SARS and those who have visited mindless violence on protesters since the protest to #ENDSARS started. We also support the demand that government should pay compensation to families of hundreds of Nigerians killed and maimed by SARS under the APC government. All these however, will only be an indication of good faith by the government, and does not substitute for the reform that is envisaged.

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It is the lamentable insensitivity and brutal repression by the APC government that has escalated the protests across the country. However, we recognize that everyone is commonly imperiled if the APC government fails to do the needful and continue to provide the pretext for the protests to continue.

We call on the APC led government not to treat this patriotic quest for demilitarisation of the body politic with its usual penchant for buck passing, blame game and advertised incoherence in policymaking and implementation.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) salutes the courage and patriotism of Nigerian youths for standing up to defend the fundamental freedoms and dignity of Nigerian citizens. Your exemplary patriotism, using peaceful and constructive protest, to retrieve the country from the path of failures and creeping authoritarianism sends a strong message that democracy is alive in Nigerian. The fact that our youths have not submitted to cynicism and hopelessness gives us hope to continue to fight for a democracy that respects the freedom and creativity of young Nigerians.

As a Party, we hear the loud statement of Nigerian youths across the country and will provide an alternative plan for a criminal justice system built on fair and effective policing and bringing to end the unnecessary brutality of those paid to protect us.

Prince Uche Secondus

PDP National Chairman

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