All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has pleaded with the #ENDSARS protesters to end it, having “made considerable gains within a very short period.”
He said with President Muhammadu Buhari’s showing of “laudable sensitivity to their grievances”, it is time for them to leave the streets because the change they desired could not be achieved in an atmosphere of “endless protests.”
Reflecting on the on-going protests last night in a statement titled: “ENDSARS Protest: The Remedy national mamadies is more or less, democracy,” the former Lagos State governor commended the youths at the vanguard of the protest for their good organization, which has shown their dexterity, but warned that such should not be fritted away.
Tinubu hailed religious leaders for their patriotism and high sense of responsibility at thie rsentitive time and urged them to prevail on their teeming followers to end the protest now and give peace a chance because the government needs time to implement its commitment to the demands of the youths.
Giving further reasons why the protest should end, he said: “This process of change should be supported and cannot be done in an atmosphere of endless protests that are also crippling an economy already enfeebled by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He explained that “It is only fair that government must be given the chance to implement the reforms demanded by the protesters. This can certainly not be done instantaneously by the waving of a magic wand.
“If government had not implemented promised reforms in the past, the swiftness with which it has responded to the demands of the protesters this time around shows that that there is a positive change by government, both of attitude and of a new sense of urgency.”
He said: “The intent of the organisers of the protests is to achieve stated objectives on police reform, which the government has in principle accepted. It can certainly not be their motive to cause generalized anarchy or effect regime change. If they give the impression that that is their goal, then any government will necessarily have to act with the requisite decisiveness and force to restore law and order and preserve constitutional rule.
“Their democratic right to protest must not be exercised in such a way that impedes the democratic right of other citizens to freedom of movement, expression and the liberty to pursue their livelihoods.”
Noting that the protests underscored the growth of democratic culture, he said impunity and lawlessness demonstrated by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) were incompatible with the values and tenets of democracy.
He said lovers of democracy and rule of law cannot be opposed to the legitimate demands of the protesters.
Tinubu hailed the protesters for their sense of maturity, restraint and responsibility, adding that the agitations underscored the power of the people.
Tinubu said the protesters should acknowledge that President Buhari had reacted to the protests by scrapping SARS and accepting their five-point demands.
He said while the protesters have recorded some gains, they should not fritter them away due to lack of moderation and strategic thinking.
He lamented that hoodlums, thugs and other criminals have capitalised on the protests to perpetrate violence, harass and intimidate innocent citizens.
Tinubu said:” I also strongly appeal to the protesters. You have made your point. Government has made its commitment to you. Please, please and please, call off the protests. Give government a chance to implement your demands.”
Tinubu added: “For the past twelve days, our country has witnessed massive protests by youths in different cities, which were ignited by widespread disenchantment with the gross human rights abuses including torture, extortion, harassment, intimidation and even extra-judicial killings of Nigerians by members of the disbanded Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS).
“The demands for fundamental police reforms by the protesting youths are in pursuit of our aspiration in our national anthem “to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign”. Justice as one of our greatest writers has memorably noted is “the first condition of humanity”.
“A society where those who are paid from the public purse to protect the lives and property of the people become themselves threats to the liberty, safety and dignity of the people; where human life is difficult to distinguish from Thomas Hobbes ‘State of Nature – ‘solitary, poor, nasty and brutish’ is not one fit for free and decent people to live in.
“Such impunity and lawlessness are incompatible with the values and tenets of a democratic society governed by the supremacy of the rule of law.
“It is impossible for anyone truly committed to the rule of law, democracy and good governance to be opposed to the concern and demands of the protesters. There is no way that any society can make meaningful progress without the enthronement of these values.