FG Victimising Sponsors of #EndSARS Protests, Say Utomi, Falana, Banire, Others

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Lai Mohammed

By Lai Mohammed mum over freezing of accounts

By Ejiofor Alike

A group identified simply as Concerned Professionals yesterday accused the federal government victimising the sponsors of the #EndSARS protests.

This is coming as the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed yesterday said he cannot answer any question on why the accounts of key #EndSARS promoters and protesters were frozen.

The group’s allegation was contained in a statement signed by Dr. Muiz Banire, Dr. Isuwa Dogo, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Olutola Mobolurin, and Professor Pat Utomi.

In the statement titled “Wrong Approach by the Federal Government,’ the group alleged that the current administration is seizing the protesters’ passports, arresting and detaining them sometimes with no or on spurious charges, and freezing the accounts of the said sponsors.

“It is unfortunate that rather than developing trust in the youths that their complaints would be convincingly addressed as promised when the protests were on, the government has embarked on victimization and witch-hunting of the sponsors of the protests by seizing their passports, arresting and detaining them sometimes with no or on spurious charges and freezing the accounts of the said sponsors,” the statement partly read.

While blaming the recent protests by the youths on lack of trust, the group said the government’s action further undermined the citizens’ trust in the current administration.

The Concerned Professionals called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to “stop the adoption of undemocratic and inhuman methods in dealing with the aftermath of the EndSARS protests. The protest is a constitutional and democratic right which cannot earn the kind of victimization going on.

“We, therefore, urge the government to implement the five-for-five accepted demands of the youths and engage them genuinely. No amount of intimidation or harassment will work as it will only exacerbate tensions in an otherwise fragile polity.”

“We also urge the traditional rulers and progressive politicians to avoid them being used to sanctioning these acts by conflating the EndSARS protests with the criminal arson and looting that followed the protests.

“These rounds of regional meetings of traditional rulers and political leaders smack of manipulation to create a pseudo-national consensus on the continuing and planned violation of the rights of citizens. Fundamental human rights are universally cherished rights.

“The country especially in its current economic straights should avoid becoming a pariah state as its youths are forced into exile as in the NADECO days.

“The news of the appearance of one of the activists of EndSARS in Canada is ominous. Our youths must not be made exiles just for speaking up. Neither must they come to harm in the country. We cannot turn our youths into Zombies,” the group explained.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed yesterday said he cannot answer any question on why the accounts of key #EndSARS promoters and protesters were frozen.

Mohammed was accosted by journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the Council Chambers of the presidential villa, Abuja.

He was asked the rationale behind blocking the bank accounts of some key #EndSARS protesters and what the government seeks to gain from the peace meetings.

The minister said he does not need to comment about the issue because the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up to investigate police brutality and extra-judicial killings have started their work across the country.

Mohammed said any response from him will preempt the findings from the panels of inquiry across the country.