By Makinde Oluwarotimi, Abuja
Connected Development (CODE), a leading civil society organisation, has said that protection of the lives and property of Nigerian citizens is fundamental responsibility of the Nigerian Government.
The statement was made by the organisation as a result of the recent #EndSARS protest where millions of young Nigerians across the globe have unanimously called for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force.
According to a press statement signed by Kevwe Oghide, CODE’S Communications Lead and made available to LEADERSHIP today, Nigerians have long battled the menace of dire brazen security challenges—ranging from Boko Haram insurgency to farmer-herders’ clashes, spate of sexual and gender-based violence and the menace of the rogue police unit.
“Actions to combat these security conditions have been inconsequential compared to the magnitude of attacks and chaos in their wake. With corruption entrenched in the sector, sustaining an effective and efficient security policy continues to be a far-cry.
“The challenges threatening the sovereignty of the country are enormous; now is not the time for President Muhammadu Buhari to be verbose. Youths are being hunted and killed unjustly; families are displaced; livelihoods are destroyed, human rights are violated — the president and his top officials have continued to thwart public faith in this administration’s ability to protect the people. Nigerians deserve stability, security and an improved quality of life.
The organisation has said that it is no news that the security sector is highly politicised and has since become a tool of government coercion —with journalists and civil society members being unlawfully detained. The constitutional rights of the Nigerian citizen have consistently been infringed, disrespected and people now live in fear—depicting a total mockery of our democracy.
“The Nigerian leadership must seize this opportunity to walk the talk and drive a much-needed security sector reform. It is not enough to merely dissolve the unit of the Nigerian Police; CODE demands that perpetrators of the police/SARS brutality and extrajudicial killings face the wrath of the law and are held accountable, especially leading up to those peaceful protesters who were either shot or killed during this recent protest. There must also be a thorough investigation into all alleged SARS-induced disappearances & killings.
The statement further explained that the embodiment of the security force must rethink the lame strategy of overburdening security agencies and vigilante groups and invest in adequate training and capacity building. If this is done, it will reduce overhead and operational costs, efficiently improve the security expenditure and expose the inherent corruption in the system.
“We commend the thousands of Nigerian Youth that took to the streets over the weekend to protest and decry alarming police brutality, assaults and wanton killing of young unassuming Nigerians by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. This shows that when advocacy is intentional and our voice is unified, citizens have the ability to spur the change we need to see. Nigerians should not be silent in the face of injustice but must continue to speak against it.”