THE Senate on Tuesday asked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address the nation immediately on the current nationwide protests by youths against police brutality and bad governance.
The Senate also directed the police to offer protection to the #EndSARS protesters to prevent hoodlums from hijacking their genuine action.
The decision of the Senate was sequel to a point of order by Senator Biodun Olujimi, titled, ‘#EndSARS: The need for a comprehensive and holistic reform’.
The federal lawmakers also urged the protesters to stop their agitation on the streets while the Federal Government addressed their demands.
They appealed to Buhari to immediately set up a judicial panel of enquiry made up of eminent Nigerians that would be respected by the youths to identify the notorious SARS operatives and ensure their arrest and prosecution
They also called on all tiers of government to put in place and sustain policies and programmes of socio-economic reforms that would raise the standard and quality of life of Nigerians.
Rejecting an additional prayer urging the Federal Government to deploy maximum force to dislodge the protesters from the streets, the upper chamber appealed to the government to implement all the five demands of the #EndSARS movement and protesters with necessary timelines to rekindle confidence in government.
Accordingly, it also appealed to the #EndSARS movement and protesters to suspend their actions and embrace genuine dialogue in order to give the government the time and space to meet their demands.
The upper chamber also urged the Nigerian youths and citizens to approach the National Assembly Committees on Constitutional Reforms in order to secure far-reaching and holistic amendments vital to the reshaping of the federation.
It also urged the police and other security agencies to operate strictly in accordance with the rules of engagement appropriate to a democratic environment that abhors the use of aggressive and brutal force against peaceful protesters.
Senator Olujimi had traced police brutality in Nigeria to the colonial era when the force was mainly used to suppress dissent against colonial rules.
She listed some of the documented police brutalities in Nigeria during the colonial era to include the killing of 21 miners and wounding of 50 workers during the Enugu Colliery strike of 1949; and the suppression of the women’s riot (December 1929 – January 1930) in the Eastern parts of the country.
Senate rejects use of force to dislodge protesters
Meanwhile, the Senate has rejected additional prayers from Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central), who urged the upper chamber to call on the Federal Government to deploy whatever means necessary to end the #EndSARS protest where dialogue fails.
Aliero said, “I want to suggest strongly that dialogue should be used to get the youths to suspend the #EndSARS protest.
“Where dialogue fails, then we should use whatever means possible to end it. Otherwise, it will lead to anarchy. Already, a number of properties have been burnt, a number of people have been killed, and no responsible government will allow lawlessness to take place when it is in power.
“Government should leave up to its constitutional responsibilities to avoid the breakdown of law and order,” Aliero added.
His prayer was not listed as part of the resolution by the upper chamber.