Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate yesterday advised the #EndSARS protesters to leave the streets having secured the assurances of the federal government to implement their five-point demands.
The Presidential Panel on Police Reforms had last Tuesday agreed to the five-point demands of the protesters against police brutality, which included halting the use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who gave the advice at the plenary after the upper chamber was briefed by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, on the intervention by the Senate leadership to wade into the protest, said the protesters should go back to their homes having secured the commitment of the government to address their grievances.
According to him, Nigerians have the legitimate right to protest against any policy or action of the government.
Lawal said: “Nigerians have the right to peaceful demonstration. When they feel very strongly about issues, they can do so to call the attention of the leaders of this country for appropriate action to be taken.
“I believe that the government has responded; SARS has been disbanded, and all the five demands of the protesters have been accepted.
“I believe that when protesters’ demands are met, their goal should have been achieved. Therefore, there is need for our compatriots to go back home and give the government the time to quickly and expeditiously implement those demands.
“Both chambers of the National Assembly have identified with the protests-that they are legitimate protests and demands. I think the next vital step is for the protests to stop because the initial reasons for the protests have been accepted as facts, and the government is
trying to do everything possible.”
The Senate president hinted that the National Assembly would prevail on the executive arm of government to ensure expeditious implementation of the demands of #EndSARS protesters.
“What I’ll urge here is if such demands have been accepted, then we should expedite action to actualise them. I therefore urge the government-and that includes us-to push to ensure that those demands of the protesters that the executive arm has accepted to implement are implemented as quickly as possible,” he said.
Briefing the Senate earlier about the interface between the Senate delegation and the protesters at the National Assembly gate, Senator Abdullahi said: “We met with a view to pacifying the protesters and also extending our commiseration with them over what happened.
“They explained that in the course of their peaceful demonstration, they were accosted by some hoodlums who they alleged were directed by the police to attack them, and how they were able to weather the storm and assemble at the National Assembly to inform us of their travails.
“We sympathised with them and received verbally the complaints that they wanted to submit to the National Assembly. They complained of damages to their vehicles, and some physical injuries that some of them sustained. Fortunately, there were no major injuries or even violent death.
“We implored them to submit a catalogue of their complaints and the damages or injuries that were inflicted upon them, so that these can be conveyed to the appropriate authorities for interventions.”