A group, #March4Nigeria has applauded Nigerians calling for an end to police brutality across the country through peaceful protest.
According to the group, the #EndSARS protest is a “vocalisation of our yearnings and freedom, which have been trampled and repressed for too long”.
Protest across the nation calling for an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of the Police on Friday entered its 11th day.
Despite disbandment of the department and subsequent launch of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), young Nigerians have remained on the streets.
In a statement signed by Augustine Richard Adie on Friday, the #March4Nigeria said it was high time to consolidate on the gains of the peaceful protest.
According to Adie, the momentum should not be lost as a result of politicisation or ethnicity, hence it is time to end the current protest and begin another chapter.
“We are therefore calling on all Nigerians to participate in the #March4Nigeria taking place across cities in the country and the world over,” he said.
“It is a march to refocus on the holistic reforms we want as a people and we shouldn’t leave it to usurpers.”
Read full statement below
We note with a sense of patriotism the commitment that Nigerian youth have extracted from the Federal Government including the National Assembly and some state governments to pursue comprehensive reforms of the Nigeria Police Force in response to the #EndSARS protest. We further note that there is a need to clarify that the youth spoke out not just because of the criminality and impunity of the few operatives of the defunct SARS.
The underlying spirit of the protest is a vocalization of our yearnings and freedom, which have been trampled and repressed for too long. As we demand that trigger-happy police officers stop brutalizing and extrajudicially killing us, we also expect that the reforms will be wide-sweeping enough to ensure that we will not similarly be discriminated against based on economic status, age, ethnicity or in any other form that impunity manifests itself. We are confident that a period of equity envisaged by the Constitution has begun, we only need to passionately pursue what we have started.
We thank all Nigerians who have participated in #EndSARS, #EndSWATS, #EndPoliceBrutality protest across cities in the country. The kind of patriotism that brought us out to speak with one voice on the direction we want the policing of our nation to take is one that we must hone and extend to other facets of our national life.
After achieving this much standing together as citizens, we must not allow narrow interests and hidden agenda of a few destroy our country. We noticed that a few persons are beginning to crown themselves as protest leaders. It has also become glaring that such people are shifting the goal post by bringing out fresh demands that could distract the entire country from focusing on and pursuing the reform of the police that we demanded, and the government agreed to implement.
It surprising that old agenda from other movements are now being infused into the #EndSARS, #EndSWAT, #EndPoliceBrutality protest. Because these agenda are mostly political, they risk pitching us against each other along political lines when the strength and consequent success of our struggle were in part attributable to its apolitical and spontaneous nature. Some of the hidden agenda is also ethno-sectarian in nature, which would destroy what we have collectively fought for as Nigerian youth.
Without meaning to arrogate to ourselves an over-bloated reckoning in history, we see the current demand for police reforms as the last chance to begin setting things right in Nigeria. If we lose the momentum as a result of politicization or ethicizing of this protest, then we risk dooming our nation and destroying it. Some person might have convinced us that this protest is about the youth, but happenings of the past few days have confirmed to us that the entire chain of events is about the future of Nigeria – infants, youth, adults and all citizens.
This is why we must #March4Nigeria and end the PROTESTS NOW!!! The aim of the protests has been achieved.
We are therefore calling on all Nigerians to participate in the #March4Nigeria taking place across cities in the country and the world over. It is a march to refocus on the holistic reforms we want as a people and we shouldn’t leave it to usurpers.