By Dipo Olowookere
President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the Nigerian Senate to urgently address the nation over the widespread #EndSARS protests.
This appeal was made at the plenary on Tuesday after a member of the upper parliament, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, moved a motion under Order 42 and 52 to seek the leave of the Senate to present a motion on the EndSARS and the need for comprehensive police reforms.
During the debate, the Minority Leader, Mr Enyinnaya Abaribe, while supporting the motion, noted that it was necessary for the President to “look at the issue and address the nation on them.”
According to him, this will calm the nerves, noting that, “in doing that, he must try a way of setting up a judicial panel that will have people that are well respected by the same youth so that they can address a certain issue and that issue is those notorious SARS officers that have been identified and even identified by the presidential panel.”
“I will also forward to you the name of the five most notorious SARS Officers who have been fingered in killing so many Nigerians,” the lawmaker said.
On his part, the Deputy Senate President, Mr Ovie Omo-Agege, threw his weight behind the motion and the agitations of the demonstrators, saying that “I stand here as a victim of SARS. Nobody here is a friend of the illegal activities of SARS.”
“When our children went in the streets demanding an end to SARS, I think it is a cry we all identify with and we will continue to identify with provided the protest remains peaceful. It must remain peaceful because it is what the Constitution guaranteed to them.
“What we have today right now is that the very good actions of our children are being hijacked. My own children are in the streets of the U.S. participating in this EndSARS protest. I am not sure that my kids are in support of those who have hijacked this protest to go release prisoners.
“I urge that they should remain lawful. The protest should remain peaceful while they give government the opportunity to address these demands. We don’t want any harm to befall our children. We want to appeal to our children and kids to give this government the opportunity to address this issue,” he submitted.
At the end of the deliberations, the Senate urged Mr Buhari “to address the nation as soon as possible on this issue” and asked the police should make it a duty to accompany protesters and should be involved in protecting genuine protesters.
The Senate also advised the police to operate strictly in accordance with the rules of engagement appropriate in a democratic environment and asked the Inspector General of Police to ensure holistic comprehensive reforms of the police to increase the overall welfare including training and medical insurance of all members of the Nigeria Police Force.
The lawmakers also urged all tiers of government to put in place and sustain policies of social economic reforms that raise the standard of lives of our people and appealed to all Nigerians to resort to use of legal institutions to resolving disputes and conflicts.
While urging the federal government to faithfully and comprehensively implement all the five demands of the EndSARS movement and protesters with necessary timelines to rekindle confidence in government, the demonstrators were advised to “kindly in the interest of everyone stop their actions and embrace genuine dialogue.”
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