(Harrison Arubu, NAN)
A U.S.-based Nigerian rights advocate, Dr Emmanuel Orji, has urged organisers of the #EndSARS protest to constitute a team to dialogue with the Federal Government.
Orji, a research Fellow at the City University of New York, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York.
He said it was time for the youth to embrace dialogue having succeeded in getting concessions from the government and support from the international community.
“History teaches that big crises of the world are resolved at a table,” Orji, who is Coordinator of the Legacy Initiative International Advocacy (LIIA), U.S. chapter, told NAN.
#EndSARS protest started in 2017 with calls for the disbandment of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and wider police reforms.
The protest was reinvigorated on Oct. 7 following revelations of more abuses by SARS operatives that sparked demonstrations across the country and major cities abroad.
The protesters came up with five demands, including prosecution of errant SARS personnel and compensation for their victims, which the government has already taken steps to meet.
In an address to the nation on Oct. 22, President Muhammadu Buhari called on genuine protesters to “constructively engage government in finding solutions”.
Buhari also appealed to them to take advantage of various “well-thought-out initiatives” of his administration designed to make their lives better.
Orji advised the president to fire heads of security and military units found wanting in the killing of innocent civilians to pave the way for lasting solutions.
“Like I had the opportunity to voice elsewhere recently in New York City, the heads or commanders of the uniformed security or military units that killed innocent Nigerian citizens invoking their rights should be removed from office.
“In the western world, these commanders should have voluntarily stepped down to allow fresh brains to find fresh answers to the issues raised.
“The expression common in legal discipline that a person should not be a judge in his own cause, belongs here (Nemo judex in causa sua),” he said.
On the mass looting of COVID-19 palliatives in many states, the LIIA coordinator wondered why such items meant for the hungry masses should be in warehouses.
He urged anti-graft agencies to get to the root of the matter and take necessary action against those found culpable.
On Tuesday, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) announced plans to investigate the sources of items.