By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja, Oct. 25, 2020 The Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) says the immediate and lasting solution to the #EndSARS saga is for Federal Government to implement recommendations of the 2018 Presidential Panel on SARS reform.
The Executive Director of CASER, Mr Frank Tietie, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
Tietie, a lawyer and rights activist, also said there was an urgent need for government at all levels to ensure youth inclusiveness in governance and create the enabling environment for employment opportunities.
The 2018 presidential panel on SARS reformation had among other things investigated allegations of human rights violations and abuse of office against SARS and recommended reform of the police outfit.
The panel lead by Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), had recommended the dismissal of 37 police officers and 24 others for prosecution following several complaints received on alleged human rights violations across the country.
The panel had also requested Inspector-General of Police Muhammed Adamu to unravel the identity of 22 officers involved in the violation of human rights of innocent citizens.
Tietie said further:
“In 2018, our President set up a presidential panel on the reformation of the SARS led by Tony Ojukwu, which made copious recommendations to the President on reforming SARS.
“The report recommended among others, the establishment of state and local government police.”
He said the President had on receipt of the report directed the setting up of a panel to put up a white paper for implementation of the report noting that the recommendations had yet to be implemented.
Speaking further on the #EndSARS protest, Tietie said the programmes of governments over the years had not met the aspirations and yearnings of the youth in particular, hence their resolve to ventilate their displeasure.
“What we have just experienced in the #EndSARS protest is the built up tension that triggered the recent protest.
“When the young people saw that the SARS police became a repository of everything that was wrong about Nigeria they felt it was time for them to fight for their lives.
“It is a cycle, it was inevitable, you couldn’t avoid it.
“Don’t think the embers of the fire that were ragging in the last two weeks have actually gone down, no.
“Another cycle might be brewing if we do not, fundamentally as a matter of serious urgency, change the entire Nigerian paradigm.
“That has always been the call in recent times; it has been branded with different names, like restructuring; but those who have operated government do not see this as the remedy.
“We have a huge problem of unnecessary stereotype, where the youth have been alienated and that was the reason they went with that kind of rage.
“Those, who run government, who are in the public service know what the solutions are but, because of self aggrandisement, they don’t want to apply the solutions.
“What does it take to make Nigeria an egalitarian society: obey the laws, as written in the various statutes and books.
“We as a country are simply paying the price for many years of disregard for human rights and the rule of law.
“We have missed many opportunities to humanise our government system.
“Those running governments must operate government based on the dictates of the law and not in a self-serving manner.
“Those who should have managed the situation did not manage the situation adequately.
“It was a golden opportunity for our country to turn things around, but it missed it this time around.
“The protests were cries of dieying people, who have been constantly victimised by the system,” he said.