#EndSARS: Show Calm, Restraint and Peace – FENRAD Urges Youths

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Immediate Release. 25th October 2020.
ENDSARS: FENRAD Urges Youth to Show Calm, Restraint and Peace While Calling on Government and Youths to Begin Cleanup and Recovery Programme.
Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, after following the #ENDSARSNOW peaceful protest and the unfortunate disturbances that have followed same urges youth in Aba, Umuahia and environs to show restraint and caution so that damages and destruction of public properties and personal chattels are not recorded nor further lives lost.
As a pro-environmental, democratic and not-for-profit organization, FENRAD, having seen some of the ruins that followed the hitherto peaceful statewide demonstrations in Abia state came to the conviction and conclusion that what is needed now is calm and cleanup of the disturbed places within the state to enable healing and much needed recovery.
#ENDSARS was a nationwide civil protest against all forms of police brutality and extrajudicial killings said to be perpetrated in large part against the youth by the now disbanded police unit: Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, which was notoriously accused of wrongfully profiling citizens wearing their hair in dreadlocks, having tattoos, possessing laptops, iPhones and other gadgets as criminals. The infamous abuses of Nigeria Police and/or SARS have long been documented by international organizations like Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch are not unknown. The protests under the theme of #EndSARSNow began from the virtual space whereupon it found its way into governance space, a mass protest and action which made the federal government to disband the SARS unit putting in place Special Weapons and Tactics unit, SWAT which the protesters saw as mere subterfuge.
Following the military shootings at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos, on Tuesday, October 10, 2020, a rather brute and kinetic option deployed to disperse peaceful protesters drawing widespread international condemnations agianst the federal government, what since followed had been wanton destruction of public and private properties in a sporadic and spontaneous manner all over the nation by hoodlums as well as loss of lives.
Abia state is not left out in all this. Aba caught the fire and had witnessed arson against government and private properties including, in some cases, banks as well as clash with security personnel leading to loss of lives. The philistinism of the last few days is a huge setback for Abia at a time when government the world over is facing economic contraction with lean resources following the pandemic outbreak and the attendant lockdown measure.
FENRAD urges parents and guardians to, in the interest of peace, prevail on their children and those under their custody to keep away from the streets while observing the curfew proclaimed by the state government in Abia state. This call also goes to youth living alone to show restraint and desist from any unlawful act capable of endangering the peace. Abia is all we have now and no matter how we reduce it to rubble and detritus only us can rebuild it.
FENRAD wishes to commend the state government for timely setting up a panel of enquiry to unravel police brutality and extrajudicial killings in a bid to address this matter. While this is the situation of things, FENRAD calls on youth to show constructive engagement henceforth while urging the state government to begin impact assessment on various places where destruction of public properties had happened.
FENRAD understands that following the COVID-19 lockdown and other attendant challenges, many businesses have gone under and that the disturbances of few days ago had worsened same. FENRAD urges state government to create intervention programme to lift businesses and lives up; these are trying times, may we all work for the good of the only state we have – Abia.
Let the violent protests stop; let the cleanup begin. Abia must be recovered.
Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Executive Director
Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)
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