Stop treating #EndSARS protesters as terrorists — Afenifere, Ohanaeze

November 16, 2020
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Apex Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere; umbrella Igbo group, Ohanaeze; Middle Belt Forum and other prominent Nigerians, yesterday, demanded that the Federal Government stop treating promoters of #EndSARS protest as terrorists, warning that the continued crackdown on the protesters could spark off an uprising that would be more devastating and difficult to contain.

They also flayed the Federal Government’s failure to identify and freeze accounts of sponsors of Boko Haram and other terrorists groups while finding it easy to go after the finances of peaceful EndSARS promoters.

Spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin said “when Boko Haram started, they were just going about protesting until they killed Mohammed Yusuf and Boko Haram armed itself. They are now begging Boko Haram for amnesty all over the place. If they make it very clear to EndSARS protesters that they only have strength against unarmed youths, the next time they come, they will not come bare hands.”

Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Uche Achi-Okpaga said the government was adopting a diversionary approach to the EndSARS protests and wondered why it was not investigating sponsors of the hoodlums that attacked the peaceful protesters.

“If they continue this way, I bet you, the second wave of EndSARS will come and it will be more devastating,” he warned.

Spokesman, MiddleBelt Forum,Dr Dogo Isuwa said: “the CBN is not a security agency and cannot, should not call the #EndSARS protesters terrorists. The CBN has not been able to find the sponsors of Boko Haram for such a long time. So, how have they been able to find out the sponsors of EndSARS sponsors within such a short time?”

Former Anambra Governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife decried the approach by the Federal Government to EndSARS protesters saying “government may win by using arm-twisting tendencies, but it is only temporary. Where the government is going, they look like agents of disintegration. When government does things with impunity, it cannot talk of the indivisibility of the nation.”

Elder statesman, Ayo Adebanjo said Buhari was the only enemy of Nigeria’s unity and not the EndSARS protesters.

“If they are sincere, everybody is saying that the only thing that can save Nigeria is restructuring, but why is Buhari keeping quiet on that? Why should they be foisting the 1999 constitution on us? Restructuring is the last chance that Nigeria has,” he said.

Meanwhile, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the freezing of bank accounts and arrest of some #EndSARS promoters.

National Vice President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Joseph Alima who made the position of the group known while inaugurating the new CAN executives in Enugu State said the government’s action was not a solution to the problem.

Also, Serving Overseer of The Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC), Pastor Tunde Bakare, said Nigerians cannot afford to keep silent while youths face the same ‘beasts’ those in his generation faced as undergraduates.

Speaking during his ‘State of the Nigerian Youth’ address with the theme: ‘The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity’, Bakare decried the backlash being meted out to some of the young Nigerians who participated in the EndSARS protests against police brutality.

On his part, Bishop of Bauchi/Gombe Catholic Diocese, Most Rev.Hilary Dachelem, advised President Buhari against deception in a bid to calm the youths.

Dachelem, who was reacting to town hall meetings organised by the Federal Government in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests to dialogue with youths and communities across the country on security issues and the way forward, advised the administration to be committed to genuinely addressing the plight of the youths for peace to reign warning of looming danging if the right step is not taken.

Former presidential candidate of Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Chief Maxi Okwu described the clamp down on the #EDNSARS protesters as an attempt to suppress popular dissent, stressing that it would fail.

He described as unfortunate the level of perfidy that chaacterise the present administration at the federal level and in many states, saying that was a clear indication that there were some plans in favour of dissidents, while those who are progressive and democratic are being victimised for expressing their fundamental rights.

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