Fred Ezeh, Abuja
A youth group, Nigerian Youth Union(NYU), has asked the Federal Government to rise to occasion and bring to an end the civil unrest that has led to deaths and destruction of property worth billions of Naira.
The youths in a statement jointly signed by National President and Secretary of the Union, Chinonso Obasi and Deji Oso, respectively, expressed frustration on the brutalisation and killing of young peaceful protesters by soldiers at Lekki, Lagos, and some other parts of Nigeria.
The youths recalled that the EndSARS protest was in response to unabated cases of police brutality in the country which accounted for the death and amputation of many Nigerian youths.
The youth representatives said: “While we recognised the importance of the Nigerian Police especially when you take into consideration their crime-fighting and crime-prevention roles, we wish to succinctly posit that Police SARS-turned-SWAT unit, as well as the entire configuration of Nigeria Police Force, need urgent reform and rehabilitation for positive attitudinal change and improved operational behavior for effective productivity.
“The agonising Lekki massacre and killings of peaceful #EndSARS protesters across Nigeria are considered a sheer violation of the fundamental rights of, not just the protesters alone, but that of the Nigerian youths as affirmed by the Constitution.”
They, however, submitted 15 point request to the federal government which, they believed, would herald durable peace, justice and unity, across Nigeria.
Part of the demand was the reform the entire Police Force through reorientation, rebranding, and retraining, as well as the sack the Security Chiefs. They requested for passage of a bill restricting the Police or military personnel from hitting or shooting at innocent civilians in Nigeria.
They also demanded the disbandment of bi-cameral and adoption of uni-cameral legisture with two representatives per state, as well as ratification of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), and create job opportunities for Nigerians.
They demanded that Nigeria be restructured, and power decentralized, as well as return to regionalism with states enjoying full autonomy and having its own police.
They, thus asked the government to speed up the process of reforming the electoral system with inclusion of electronic voting system that is tied to Bank Verification Number (BVN) and phone number, as well as implementation of 2014 Confab report and closure northern borders to stop the free entry of Fulani Herdsmen and bandits, among several others.
They re-emphasized that peaceful protest against bad governance constitute the fundamental indicators and evidence of an evolving and consolidating democracy, hence, the government and the security agencies should desist from killing protesters as they would be portraying themselves as agents of doom and anti-democracy forces.