Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned the Federal Government against any attempt to deploy the military to intervene in the ongoing nationwide protest by youths against the brutalities of the Police.
The warning may not be unconnected with the planned nationwide operation crocodile smile recently announced by the military.
CAN expressed fears that such decision in a civil matter could further aggravate the already tensed situation resulting in more casualties in both side of the divide.
CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, in a statement released in Abuja, on Monday, commended the peaceful nature of the protest so far, and appealed to the youths to sustain the peaceful nature of the protest.
He assured the youths that CAN and the entire nation are aware of their sacrifices notably time, money and other risks in their quest for a reformed Police and an egalitarian society. “We appreciate your patriotic agitation in a peaceful manner despite the pockets of attack against you either by the Police or some hired thugs to disrupt the exercise.
“We, however, condemn every attempt being made to stop or disrupt the peaceful protest which is lawfully allowed and guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We are monitoring the situation nationwide and we are pray that the unprecedented efforts to have a decent society will not be in vain. We thus call on the military and police to resist the temptation to intervene in a civil protest in order to avoid a harvest of deaths. We have had enough of mass burials without fighting a war in the recent past.”
Meanwhile, CAN has listed some suggestions which, they said, the government must implement to secure the trust of the people.
They include the immediate inauguration of judicial panel with representatives of the civil society at all levels with a view to bringing all the criminals in uniform to book.
That President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately send an appropriation bill to the National Assembly for the compensation of all victims of the police brutality and other extrajudicial killings in the last 10 years.
That fresh recruitment into police should take background check of those being recruited into consideration so as to avoid recruiting criminals into the force as we had seen.
Similarly, that semi-literates should never be recruited into the Police, rather well educated, morally and mentally sound people should wear the police uniform.
That government should stop paying lip service to people’s welfare and immediately begin the welfare programmes that would bring succour to the suffering masses occasioned by the increase in the fuel pump price and the power tariff.
That each of the 36 state governors including the FCT Minister should set up committee to dialogue with the representatives of the protesters to douse the tension in the country.
That the Inspector General of Police should suspend the implementation of SWAT until sanity is restored. And that all the officers and rank and file who were members of disbanded SARS should be screened administratively to unmask the rotten eggs among them with a view to sanctioning them.
That the mass unemployment of the youths who graduated from higher institutions, and continued closure of universities as a result of unresolved university lecturers’ welfare and infrastructural demands fuelled the current #EndSars protest. That government should provide a future for our youths through provision of gainful employment or enabling environment for their employment.
Finally, that roads must be made motorable throughout the country for ease of moving human and economic goods while interrupted electricity supply should be ensured among other infrastructures requiring urgent attention in our nation.