By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Abuja. Oct. 19, 2020 The Federal Government on Monday admonished political, religious, traditional and opinion leaders to stop instigating youths for EndSARS protests so as to avert anarchy.
“Leaders should stop instigating the protests because that could lead to anarchy,” information and culture minister Lai Mohammed said at a special NAN Forum on Monday in Abuja.
The minister, who spoke specifically on the EndSARS protest and the way forward, said he was disappointed that some leaders were encouraging youths to remain on the streets even after government had met their demands.
“The protests are turning violent, unfortunately many of our leaders are falling short of expectation.
“Rather than advise these youths, they have been instigating them and this is very disappointing.
“All leaders, opinion, religious, political, including traditional rulers, should be very careful in their interventions.
“They have the right to intervene and a lot of them have huge followership, but they should not incite; they should proffer solution not to complicate the matter on ground.
“They should emphasise that the protest is genuine and that the government has listened. They should let the youths know that everything the government has promised will be fulfilled,’’ he said
Mohammed said that the original conveners of #EndSARS had lost control of it, while hoodlums and people with ulterior motive to destabilise the country had taken over the protest.
He declared that encouraging protests that could lead to anarchy was a disservice to the nation.
“We are talking of the very existence of the country because some people are using the genuine protest to seek an end to democracy and representative government.
“We are talking of a protest that has descended into orgy of violence, looting, killing and attempted assassination of a state governor.
“A protest that led to hoodlums taking over the whole city of Benin, releasing inmates and setting Police stations ablaze.
“This is not what any leader should support or instigate the youths to continue with,’’ he said.
Mohammed noted that all the demands by the protesters had been met by government, adding that some states had started implementing the directive by the National Economic Council.
He specifically noted that some of the states had set up judicial panels of enquiry to look into allegations of Police brutality and extra judicial killings.
He said that the states had also set up special victims support fund to compensate victims of Police brutality and abuse, in addition to special security and human right committee on Police reform.
The minister explained that government decided to decentralise the dialogue, reform and compensation because the governors were in the best position to engage leaders of the group in their respective states.
He appealed to the leadership of EndSARS to put forward their demands and approach the governors who are already waiting for them.