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#ENDSARS: Leave streets now, APC group tells protesting youths

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Young Stakeholders have called on youths protesting against brutality and high-handedness by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Unit of the Nigerian Police Force to leave the streets for their houses and places of work or businesses.

The group at a press conference addressed by its Spokesman, Aliyu Shehu in Abuja on Saturday asked the youths to stop putting themselves and others at risk, insisting that: “We want no further deaths. There is no need for any more bloodshed”.

Shehu promised that as young stakeholders of the governing party, they will put enough pressure on the government to ensure that the proposed reforms of the Police are speedy, complete, and comprehensive.

He said: “Our fellow Nigerian youths, tomorrow is still very bright. We don’t want to win the battle and lose the War. Let’s not allow people from within and outside with ulterior motives to hijack the struggle for selfish gains.

“Let’s leave the streets and go back home. If possible, form civil organizations that will engage the government even better! Let’s not make other people suffer. We need not block roads as people with emergencies are bound to be in them. We need not ground commercial activities as people need to eat. We should not be the monsters we are trying to fight!

“Just yesterday, we read that the presidential panel set up to reform SARS submitted it’s reported to the Police Service Commission. It recommended the dismissal of 37 former SARS officers and prosecution of 24 for professional misconduct. This is in addition to the 10 that were already dismissed and 9 others demoted. This is a big win, great Nigerian Youths.

“The government has listened to our cries. It has taken immediate and strategic steps to improve policing in the country. That is why we came out to the streets. That is why we left the comfort of our homes for the heat of the sun and the sonorous voices of mosquitoes.

“Fellow Nigerian youths, we know that the #ENDSARS protest isn’t just about SARS and police brutality but a vital call for the total reform of the different sectors of our national life. While we are aware that the decades of mistrust between our leaders and the led have left little room for us to trust these promises of the government, we must also realise that some of these demands will take time to manifest.

“We are using this medium to appeal to our fellow young Nigerians to consider PAUSING the protest while we give reasonable timelines and deliverables acceptable to both the people and the government to see these demands materialize.

“We don’t want to lose the goodwill garnered so far by continued protests which are now doing more harms to the ordinary people whom this call was to cater for in the first place. There have been reports of great discomfort to people across the country who are trying to get back to earning a legitimate living after months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic; more concerning is the daily reports of death. Yesterday, there were reports that 3 persons died in Edo. In Ondo, a car rammed into protesters, killing one and injuring others.

“Greatest Nigerian Youths, our thoughts go to the families. We pray they find comfort. “It is only logical that the protests cease for now while we identify other strategic means of engaging the government that won’t put our fellow Nigerians in further discomfort.

“We the young stakeholders of the governing party who are first Nigerians before our partisan affiliation are committed to using all political resources available to us to ensure the government delivers all it has promised and timely too”.

The APC Young Stakeholders Spokesman noted that the protests, which have become sustained despite the government agreeing to the demands are as a result of the long years of mistrust between the government and the people.

He however said: “We are not oblivious of the fact that the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed and already showing the desire to bridge that gap and right the wrongs of many years, predating this government.

“That is why we want to call on the understanding of young members and supporters of our party, the APC not to see the protests from purely the point of standing against the government as the brutality of the police or SARS does not recognize political affiliation when they occur.

“It is on this note also that we want to call on our fellow Nigerians who are still on the streets protesting not to see this protest as an end, but a means to an end. The right to protest is ours; no government can strip us of that power and this government has demonstrated a clear understanding of these rights by continuously allowing protests to go on so long as they remain peaceful”

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