By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has assured Nigerian youths that the National Assembly will collaborate with the Executive to ensure justice for victims of misconduct and rights abuses by personnel of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
This is just as a member of the National Assembly, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the reported killings associated with the #EndSARS youth protests at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos last week.
Lawan, who gave the assurance in a statement he personally signed on Monday, said the legislative arm will also work with the Executive to ensure that the five-point demands of the #EndSARS protesters, which the government has committed itself to, are fully implemented.
He said in order to discourage impunity, they will insist that the perpetrators of the alleged abuses be prosecuted and sanctioned.
Lawan however urged the youths to join hands with the authorities in bringing an urgent cessation to the violence.
He lamented that the country is still grappling with the havoc of COVID-19, and cannot afford yet another epidemic that has now appeared in the form of the lawlessness that is going on.
He said: ”In spite of the unfortunate hijack of the protests against police brutality by hoodlums to unleash horrifying violence, arson, looting and wanton destruction of public and private property on the country, we will ensure that government fulfills the commitment it has made to the well-meaning agitators for police reform and good governance.
“The National Assembly is fully committed to putting the necessary legislation in place for comprehensive reform of the police to enhance their institutional integrity and efficiency.
”As we seek a path out of this regrettable crisis, my heart goes out to the victims of the reprehensible violence and criminality witnessed in the last few days in many parts of the country. I send my condolences to the families of our security and law enforcement agents who have made the supreme sacrifices in the course of their service to their fatherland.
“I also call for a thorough investigation of every criminal act that we have witnessed in the past few weeks with a view to bringing to justice all those elements who have so callously destroyed public and private property.
”I call on our patriotic youths to leave the streets as government has heard their voices and is addressing their grievances. This is also necessary to avoid unwittingly continuing to provide covers for the criminals and fifth columnists in our midst.
“However, as regards those criminal elements unleashing terror on our cities under the guise of the protest, I urge the security agencies to forthwith but with utmost restraint, restore law and order across the country and bring the criminals to justice.”
On his part, the senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District, Ubah, has condemned the shooting of the EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, and also called on President Buhari to set a panel of inquiry to investigate what he termed the barbaric shooting of peaceful protesters.
In a statement he personally signed on Monday, Ubah expressed deep sadness over the incident while condoling with the families of all those that lost their lives.
According to him, ”I hereby call on the federal government and all relevant security agencies involved to commence immediate investigation into this matter with a view to serving justice to the deceased and their loved ones. I also call on the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari to assuage the feelings of the citizenry.
”As stated earlier in my motion on the floor of the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday; October 13, 2020 calling for comprehensive police reforms and end of police brutality, I remain committed to exploring ways of ensuring that the incessant harassment of citizens by security agents stops with a view to promoting a cordial relationship between law abiding citizens and law enforcement agents in the nation for a more peaceful and secure environment where the people can express their thoughts and feelings about the hovernment without fear of intimidation.”