Fred Itua, Ndubuisi Orji, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin, Geoffrey Anyanwu, and Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Worried by the escalating tension and seeming inability of security agents to curtail the EndSARS protests,President Muhammadu Buhari is reportedly considering a declaration of national state of emergency.
A senator told Daily Sun that the president may soon convene a security meeting where a decision on state of emergency would be discussed.
Daily Sun learnt that during a meeting between President Buhari, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila last weekend, the issue came up.
He said the president was urged to stay action and allow governors handle it in their respective domains.
Section 305, Subsection (1) of the 1999 Constitution, states that a “President may by instrument published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation, issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the federation or any part thereof.”
President Buhari met with the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi and the Chief of Defense Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, yesterday.
Although there was no official information confirming the agenda of the meeting, as at the time of filing this report, sources within the State House said it was in the bid to tame the escalating violence trailing the #EndSARS protests.
However, the Senate has called on President Buhari to address Nigerians.
The Senate made the call when it considered a motion sponsored by every senator. It said the address would calm the angry youths and set the motion in place for issues raised to be addressed.
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, while commenting on the motion, said by addressing the country, the President would have succeeded in reducing the growing tension and restore peace.
He said: “He needs to come out and directly talk to Nigerians. He must set up a judicial panel that will address those notorious SARS officers. If this is done, then our people on the street will see us as directly confronting what they’re worrying about.”
Francis Alimikhena, eventually moved a motion to that effect and it was adopted by the entire Senate.
The decision of the Senate followed a two-hour debate on the ongoing protests.
During the debate, a core supporter of President Buhari and senator from Kebbi State, Adamu Aliero, called for the use of force to end the protests if dialogue failed.
The former governor of Kebbi State and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), while supporting a motion on police reforms sponsored by all the senators, said it was the right thing to do.
“We should use dialogue to force the youths to abandon the protests. But where dialogue fails, the Federal Government should use whatever means possible to force the youths out of the streets. No responsible government will fold its arms and watch the law disregarded for wanton destruction.”
This was as the protesting youths, again, took to the streets of Abuja, yesterday. The protests which have entered its second week, also turned violent in many parts of Abuja.
Residents and motorists in Kubwa area of Abuja woke up to a fresh round of protests and gunshots, following a face off between protesters and soldiers.
The protesters who erected a barricade at the popular Sokale roundabout area and Winners road were confronted by soldiers who fired shots to scare them off.
Schools in the area and in many parts of Abuja had to shutdown while parents hurriedly picked up their children.
In Apo area, hoodlums masquerading as protesters attacked and burnt several vehicles. Shops were also torched while various degrees of injuries were sustained during the violent protests by hoodlums believed to be pro-SARS.
For the second day, roads leading to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja were shut by protesters.
In the city centre, major entrances to the National Assembly were completely shutdown. Senators and members of the House of Representatives, had to resort to other routes to access the National Assembly.
The protesters who have been protesting at the National Assembly are demanding that Lawan address them. So far, he has refused to meet with them. Instead, he had twice sent representatives who were turned down by the protesters.
IGP deploys anti-riot police nationwide
Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu has ordered the deployment of anti-riot police officers nationwide to restore law and order in states following the #EndSARS protests.
Force Public Relations Officer,Frank Mba, in a statement said the deployment was to protect lives, secure critical national infrastructure and ensure that hoodlums hijacking peaceful protests are brought to book.
Said Mba: “The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) M.A. Adamu, has ordered immediate nationwide deployment of anti-riot police unit — the Police Mobile Force (PMF) — to protect lives and property of all Nigerians and secure critical national infrastructure across the country,
“The IGP has also ordered massive deployment of police operatives to strengthen security around correctional facilities nationwide. The orders are coming on the heels of increasing attacks including acts of arson and malicious damage to public and private facilities as recorded in some states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Consequently, Commissioners of Police in the 36 states and the FCT are to identify and isolate law-breakers from peaceful protesters; immediately arrest and diligently prosecute such perpetrators of violence in their respective commands.”
He said 12 suspects had been arrested in connection with the attacks and arson on police stations in Benin, Edo State and five AK47 rifles earlier stolen from vandalised police stations recovered.
Invoke executive order to address police brutality – Reps
The House of Representatives has charged President Buhari to issue an Executive Order to address issues relating to police brutality.
The House also appealed to the protesters to have faith in the National Assembly and in the executive arm of government to find a lasting solution to “lingering issues of general police misconduct.”
The Green chamber equally resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to interface with relevant security agencies and interest groups to ensure a peaceful end to the ongoing #EndSARS protests.
The ad-hoc committee, which would be chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, would consist of the House Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu and three members from the House Committees on Defence, Police, Army, Airforce, Navy, Interior, National Security and Intelligence and Human Rights.
This followed the adoption of a motion of national urgent importance sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli, on the “need to address the possible breach of national security under the peaceful protests across the country.”
Soli, in his motion, expressed concern that the legitimate protests of the #EndSARS protesters were being infiltrated by hoodlums, which may result in the breakdown of law and order in the country.
The lawmaker said if adequate measures were not taken to address the protests, the country may be thrown into complete anarchy that may lead to needless loss of lives and properties and pose a threat to governance across the country.
Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, while contributing to the motion, said there was need to address issues as a national challenge rather than seeing it as something that affects only a part of the country.
He said it was imperative for President Buhari to address the country and state timeline for the resolution of all the issues that neccessiated the protests.
Military deployment’ll lead to chaos – Archbishop Chukwuma
Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Emmanuel Chukwuma, has warned against deploying military to quell the protests.
Chukwuma warned that using the military to engage protesters would be a wrong.
“Government should be careful about unleashing soldiers on protesters because it is not going to be an easy thing. They should not use force at all. It is a matter of persuasion and assurances to the youths that they will attend to their demands.
“I must commend Buhari for being able to listen to the youths plea and taking necessary actions.”
He demanded that government should get to the root of the uprising with the aim of addressing them rather than employing force.
“It is important for the government to know that these children are frustrated and what they should do therefore is to set up a committee in every state that will speak to these people. They have leaders in various states.
“Government should identify their leaders in each state and let the members of these committees sit down with these youths and find out from them what they want for peace to reign. What is your problem and what do you want us to do,” he said.
Gbaja: I won’t endorse 2021 budget if there’s no provision for victims
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has threatened not to sign off on the 2021 budget if it did not contain compensation for victims of police brutality.
He said Nigerians expect actions and “they must deliver.”
“The House of Representatives has committed to a programme of reforms. We resolved to collaborate with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in this effort and to ensure that draft legislation is ready for consideration within thirty days,” he said.
“None of these actions have sufficed to convince the ever-growing number of protesters to withdraw from continued agitation. From Lagos to Awkuzu, from Port-Harcourt to Kano, Abuja and Enugu, the protests have continued relentlessly, with good cause.
“Whatever else may be driving this moment, our people expect more than commitments. They expect action, and we must deliver.
“We owe this to Tiyamu Kazeem and Tina Ezekwe, Tony Zitta and Anita Akapson, to Chijioke Iloanya and Jimoh Isiaq, Kolade Johnson, Modebayo Awosika and far too many others.
“We owe it to the families they left behind, to those who even now do not know if their missing son, their long lost sister, their father, is buried somewhere in a shallow, unmarked grave, put there by those whose duty it was to protect them.
“As Speaker of this House of Representatives, let me say now for the records to reflect, and in the expectation that I would be held to account; I will not sign off on a 2021 Budget that does not include adequate provisions to compensate those who have suffered violence and brutality at the hands of the police in Nigeria in the last two decades.”
He promised to visit some of the families who lost loved ones to police brutality next week.
“The House of Representatives will pass an Electoral Reform Bill in time for the next general elections so that we may continue to improve the process of electing our political representatives at all levels,” he said.
“I will support the amendment of the constitution to ensure that the provisions on fundamental human rights have teeth, resource control is dealt with equitably and that the next generation of Nigerians does not inherit evident dysfunctions of our current system.”
The speaker described all those who have led the recent protests against police brutality as midwives of national rebirth.
“You have moved a nation to action, and now you must join in doing the hard work of making real the vision of a more just, more prosperous, and more resilient nation,” he said.