(Chijioke Okoronkwo, 2020)
The Voice of Nigerian Youths (VONY), a youth group, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the youths as the #ENDSARS protests continue.
VONY, which made the call on Tuesday night at a virtual forum on reforming the system, said such address would be in addition to other steps already taken by government to address the concerns of #EndSARS protesters.
The Senate had earlier on Tuesday urged Buhari to, “as soon as possible”, address the nation on issues of #EndSARS protests in the country.
The forum, which featured presentations by youth activists such as Seun Kuti, Dede Mabiaku, Edi Lawani, Dayo Akintobi and Frank Donga, was moderated by Temi Okesanjo.
The speakers said there was a need for a presidential address to the Nigerian youths, especially on issues bothering on police reforms.
Speaking on the five demands of the protesters also known as the 5for5, Donga said it might not be possible to meet all the demands at once.
He said, however, that government needed to demonstrate the will to meet them through direct communication with the youths on its action plan.
Donga said all the youths wanted was an assurance that justice would be served with a clear action plan presented to the public on how it would be achieved.
Akintobi on his part said a total overhaul of the orientation and operations of the police system in Nigeria was required and not just the disbandment of SARS tactical unit.
He said that in addition to the overhauling the system, there should be public prosecution of all perpetrators of police brutality by an independent body to win back public trust.
According to him, the best way to address the situation in the country is by decentralising the police system in the country and making personnel more accountable.
Akintobi also called on the youths to realise their power and get more involved in politics, especially in future elections to fully take over the leadership of the country.
He said an address to the youths by the president in a manner that was informal and more assuring would go a long way to calm the tension in the land.
Also contributing, Kuti urged the youths to strive toward creating an alternative political front to actualise their goal of installing a new breed of leadership at all levels.
In his submission, Lawani said the composition of the judicial panels across the country was commendable.
He, however, advocated more transparency in the communication of measures taken to address concerns raised by youths protesting the end to police brutality.
Lawani said the openness of the process would assure the youths of government’s sincerity and commitment to meeting their demands.