By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency, address Nigerians on the #EndSARS protest which has spread across parts of the country.
While calling on all tiers of government to put in place and sustain policies and programmes of socio-economic reforms that raise the standard and quality of life of Nigerians, the upper chamber urged the Federal Government to faithfully implement all the five demands of the #EndSARS movement and protesters with necessary timelines to rekindle confidence in government.
Accordingly, it also appealed to the #EndSARS movement and protesters to suspend their actions and embrace genuine dialogue in order to give the government the time and space to meet their demands.
The upper chamber also urged the Nigerian youths and citizens to approach the National Assembly Committees on Constitutional Reforms in order to secure far-reaching and holistic amendments that are vital to the restricting and reshaping our federation to make it an inclusive and viable polity.
The Senate while appealing to Nigerians to resort to use of legal and institutional channels of resolving conflicts and disputes, urged the police and other security agencies to operate strictly in accordance with the rules of engagement appropriate to a democratic environment that abjures the use of aggressive and brutal force against peaceful protesters.
The upper chamber also urged the Inspector General of Police to ensure a holistic, comprehensive reforms of the police to include the overhaul of the welfare, training and medical insurance of all members of the Nigerian Police Force.
These were resolutions reached by the Senate following a motion brought to the floor during plenary by Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP – Ekiti South) and and co-sponsored by the 108 senators.
Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, Olujimi in a motion titled “EndSARS: Need for comprehensive and holistic reforms”, traced police brutality in Nigeria to the colonial era when the force was mainly used to suppress dissent against colonial rules.
According to the lawmaker, “some of the documented police brutalities in Nigeria during the colonial era are: the killing of twenty-one miners and wounding of fifty workers during the Enugu Colliery strike of 1949; suppression of the women’s riot (December 1929 – January 1930) in the Eastern parts of the country, which led to the death of fifty-five women and serious injury to more than fifty other; and the quelling of the Tiv riot of 1960 where 19 civilians were allegedly killed and 83 injured.”