ENDSARS Protest Hijacked To Destabilise PMB’s Govt – Lai Mohammed - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Monday, October 19, 2020

ENDSARS Protest Hijacked To Destabilise PMB’s Govt – Lai Mohammed

ABUJA - The federal government warned yesterday that it will not allow the country to be thrown into a state of anarchy by the violence that has trailed the #ENDSARS protests.

The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said this maintained that the protest had been hijacked by hoodlums and people with ulterior motives to destabilise the country and bring down the Buhari administration.

This is coming just as the protesters have threatened to shut down all entry points to Abuja, the nation’s capital, in a bid to ground government activities today.

Speaking during a late-night news programme on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), “Weekend File”, Mohammed appealed to Nigerians to be objective in assessing the situation and to see that what is going on was beyond peace- ful protest.

Insisting that it was an attempt by some persons to destabilise the country, the minister stressed that the federal government had already met the demands of the group and was implementing them.

In the course of the programme en- titled, “ENDSARS Protest: The Way Forward,” Mohammed said Saturday’s assassination attempt on Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, while addressing the protesters was a clear confirmation that the protests had been hijacked by hoodlums and people with ulterior agenda.

He stated that while the original conveners of the protests might have meant well, it was obvious that they were no longer in control of the initiative.

He said, “Peaceful protest is an integral part of democracy and that is why the Federal Government in the last 11 days has treated the protesters in a much civilised manner.

“But if you look at what happened to the governor of Osun State, it has gone completely beyond peaceful protest against excesses and abuse of power by the police.”

The Information minister stated that there was nowhere in the world where a government would fold its arms and allow the country to descend into anarchy.

He said, “We are no longer dealing with #EndSARS but a volatile situation that can lead to anarchy if the government does not take some very firm steps to protect the lives and livelihood of innocent Nigerians.”

Mohammed added that the protests have gone beyond being peaceful becau- se lives have been lost and innocent Nigerians, including workers and students, are passing through harrowing experiences.

Specifically, he said because the pro- testers are blocking the roads and high- way, workers are finding it difficult to get to their offices and back home while many Nigerians are stranded on the roads.

“We have nothing against peaceful protest but there are civilised ways of doing so. This is by going to a venue where you are not going to disturb other Nigerians because where your right stops, other persons’ right begins,” he said.

Mohammed urged Nigerians to also see the protests as a smokescreen staged to undermine the administration and destabilize the country because all the demands by the protesters had been met by the government.

He reiterated that after the government had responded and met all the demands of the protesters, they ought to have nothing doing on the streets.

He recalled that “the protesters on inception came with five demands including, that all arrested protesters should be released immediately and justice must be given to deceased victims of SARS including adequate compensation to be paid to their families”.

He continued: “The protesters equally demanded that there should be an independent committee to oversee the investigations and prosecution of any members of SARS found guilty of extra judicial killings.

“They demanded that all personnel of the disbanded SARS must undergo a psychological and medical evaluation as well as retraining before they should be redeployed to other services of the Police.

“They also demanded that the salary of the police should be increased in a man- ner that will be adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.

“In meeting the demands of the prote- sters, on October, 11 the Inspector-Gene- ral of Police (IGP) dissolved SARS across the 36 states Police Command and the FCT.”

Mohammed further said President Mu- hammadu Buhari, on October 12 addressed the nation, stating that the disbanding of SARS was a first step in the comprehensi- ve reform of the police.

He noted that on October 13 the IGP had ordered all defunct SARS personnel to report at Force Headquarters in Abuja for debriefing as well as psychological and mental examinations.

The minister said, “On the same day, the Presidential Panel on the Reform of SARS accepted the five-point demand of the protesters.”

He said the National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by the Vice President with the 36 state governors and FCT Minister as members met on October 15 and directed the immediate establishment of state- based Judicial Panels of Enquiry across the country.

The minister stressed that with all the steps taken, the government has done more in meeting all the demands of the protesters.

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