Former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, released a statement conveying his opinions on the #EndSARS protests currently ongoing in the country.
The immediate past senate president and current chairman of The African Politiea Institute (TAPI), in his press release to The Vanguard, said that he cannot feign blindness to the ongoing protests calling for the Federal Government of Nigeria to end the operations and activities of the Nigerian Police Force’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), as the youths are voicing their response to the increasingly harrowing scenes of random and unjustified harassment, intimidation, detention, and worse still, even extrajudicial killings by rogue cells in SARS of members of the future Nigeria.
He said, “As a patriot who firmly believes in the rule of law, I can no longer sit back and watch. In my opinion, this #EndSarsNow, #EndPoliceBrutality is not one bit about politics. It is all about young people whose agitation and raised voices are demanding protection of their daily rights and liberties, to live, associate, and work, productively in peace. Our youths are fed up with a system that has first and foremost failed to do its duty to protect them. I try hard to imagine how awful it must be to be picked up and picked on by members of this notorious squad simply because of my dress or hairdo, etc. That has nothing to do with maintaining law and order, which, as we all know, can even be achieved peacefully – weapons must always only be a last resort.”
“There is a danger in the escalation of any protest movement, and #EndSARS is no different. The initial response of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu to #EndSARS in which he gave various directives about the squad can be read as an admission that many things are indeed wrong with SARS. To disband it therefore does not mean bowing down to anyone. It is a rational choice that shows the NPF’s gravitas and clarity.”
“Leaders must always listen to the youths, address their concerns, and design policies and programmes aimed at engaging them productively. This means that if young people are being terrorised by the institution designed and constitutionally duty-bound to protect them and feel that SARS has become a menace to them and society, then we must listen! Meaning they should, quite simply, disband SARS, take a step back, take comprehensive stock of the activities of SARS, and assess the complaints. On occasions like this, leaders need not worry about saving face, as that is what democracy is about.”
“It is not a time for prevarication but for us to get on with things. Show our young people that we have listened and they are right – and seize the #EndSARS/ #EndPoliceBrutality as the opportunity to totally overhaul the police to enable them to do a better job for the benefit of us all.”
He closed his statement by paying tribute to the victims of Police excessive reaction to the #EndSARS protests, Jimoh Isiaq who was murdered in Ogbomosho, as well as Oluwadamilare Gbolohunmi and Abdulrasaq Olawale who were both injured by the police. He prayed that their sacrifice led to a better Nigeria Police.