The former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said that the Federal Government must be given a chance to implement the police reforms demanded by #EndSARS protesters.
He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not only scrapping the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit but also accepting the protesters’ 5-point demand.
Tinubu disclosed this in the early hours of Tuesday morning via a tweet thread. This comes after the Lagos State Government inaugurated an 8-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to investigate cases of police brutality in the state.
Sources had earlier reported that the National Leader of the APC had denied sponsoring the #EndSARS protests that have rocked the country in the last ten days. He reiterated that he could not have sponsored a protest that is affecting the economy of his state, Lagos.
“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),” Tinubu tweeted.
He added that the demand for police reforms aligned with Nigeria’s anthem in building a nation where peace and justice reigns.
“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 the 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.”
Tinubu said that a society that deals with challenges of injustice, corruption, and dictatorship will be forced to respond with resistance and struggle for emancipation.
“The result is the triumph of justice over injustice, liberty over tyranny, and right over wrong; thus, enabling the society to be elevated to a higher level of good, accountable, responsible, and responsive governance,”
He said that justice triumphing over injustice was the process that ended historical ills like colonialism, apartheid, tyranny, and misrule; and Nigeria’s current democracy was “borne of struggle in response to the challenge of military dictatorship.”
Tinubu also said that brutality caused by SARS was a challenge that the youth responded positively to, which became a catalyst for reforms. However, he urged the youth to give the Presidency time to implement the reforms as it couldn’t be done instantaneously.
“The impunity of SARS was thus a challenge that the youth have responded positively and courageously to and has triggered the commencement of the fundamental reform of the country’s policing system.
“The protesters must admit that the President Buhari administration has acted with commendable dispatch by not only scrapping SARS, but also accepting the five-point demand that triggered the protests. This shows a laudable sensitivity to the grievances of the youths.
“It is only fair that the 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,” he stated.
He commended religious leaders for their actions this period and appealed to call off the protests for peace to reign.
“Finally, I also strongly appeal to the protesters – you have made your point. The government has made its commitment to you. Please, please and please, call off the protests. Give the government a chance to implement your demands.”