By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Oct. 22, 2020 The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the Federal Government to immediately set up an independent judicial panel to look into the role of security agencies’ handling of the youth’ peaceful protests.
Prince Uche Secondus, the PDP National Chairman, made the call while addressing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, on the ongoing EndSARS protests in parts of the country and the violence trailing them.
Secondus also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a national emergency in the nation’s security architecture, as well as address the protesters and the nation in response to calls by the Senate and other Nigerians.
He explained that as main opposition party, which had carefully watched the development in the protests, PDP was worried about the way the federal and some state governments were handling the peaceful protests.
Secondus noted that for nearly two weeks, Nigeria youths had been revolting through peaceful protests against Police brutality as mirrored by a unit of the Nigeria Police force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
He said that the youth were carrying out the constitutional obligation peacefully across the country without any molestation and registering their grievances appropriately to relevant authorities.
Secondus said while the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, swiftly responded by disbanding SARS, replacing it with Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) squad, the protesters demanded total overhaul of the security architecture.
“This responsibility rests squarely with the federal Government who controls and manages the Police force.”
Secondus, who called for a minutes silence for those killed during the protests, decried the incident of Tuesday night at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos where some group of armed uniformed soldiers opened fire on protesting youths and allegedly killed some protesters.
The PDP, he said, commiserated with all the victims of the brutal attitude.
According to him, “PDP condemns in strongest term the mindless and inhuman shooting of citizens, an action that runs afoul of national and international laws.
“We also urge the protesting youth to ensure that they continue to be peaceful even in the face of provocations.
“We mourn with the families of those affected and pray that their supreme sacrifice will not be in vain, and that through their bloodshed, God can help heal Nigeria of the malady of poor leadership that has bedeviled the country.”
Secondus also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to address the protesters and the nation in response to the call by the senate and other Nigerians.
He, however, advised the Federal Government to take the advice from the PDP and the news conference with seriousness saying that what was going on in the country had nothing to do with political parties or politics.
“Today’s news conference is a very painful one in our nation’s history where we observed that our people who are trying to protect us have suddenly turned against innocent youths.
“This incident does not call for reaction as usual, because everything is taking on sentiment and politics.
“This is not the time to play politics. No one plays politics with life. No one plays politics with insecurity because you never can tell who it will consume. No one plays politics with hunger.
“As you are aware, the politics in Ondo state took a toll on PDP and even the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariats.
“So you can see in essence it has nothing to do with political parties now. Even when we express our opinion, it should be taken seriously by government, because it is no longer politics.
“We are here today; tomorrow we may no longer be there. What will be the effect on these youth who are supposed to be leaders of tomorrow?”