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‘Hoodlums may cause mayhem’ — NEC warns against #EndSARS anniversary protests

‘Hoodlums may cause mayhem’ — NEC warns against #EndSARS anniversary protests
October 15
18:49 2021

The National Economic Council (NEC) has advised against staging protests to mark the one-year anniversary of #EndSARS.

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Nigerians had, in October 2020, protested against the now-disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force.

In a statement issued on Friday, the council said the purpose of the planned anniversary protests might be defeated as they may be hijacked by armed hoodlums and other “opportunistic criminals”.

“While appreciating the role of lawful peaceful protests in the advancement of public discourse under democratic governance, the National Economic Council strongly advise those planning public protests across the country to mark the anniversary of the #EndSARS,  to consider other lawful alternative means of engagement,” the statement reads.

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“This is because of the current security situation across the country and the possibility of such protests being hijacked by armed hoodlums and other opportunistic criminals to cause mayhem at such protest events and venues. Council, therefore, urges the organisers to reconsider their plan.”

The council also highlighted various actions already taken by federal and state governments to address the grievances that led to the 2020 protests.

Such actions, according to NEC, include “broad police reforms, establishment of judicial panels of inquiries to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the Nigeria police force and other security agencies”.

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The council said the recommendations of panels are already at various stages of implementation, including the setup of victims’ compensation funds.

“These are commendable actions that ought to be taken to a logical conclusion in a peaceful atmosphere,” the council said.

“Organisers of the planned protests should explore the various channels of communication with governments at various levels to advance their positions and avert the breakdown of law and order that may result from such public protests.”

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