By Salifu Usman, Abuja
The minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has lauded the ingenuity and courage of Nigerian youth for finding their voices against police brutality and also demanding for deep-rooted reforms in the Nigerian police force.
He described the ongoing #EndSARS protests as genuine agitations, saying the youth by their actions, are seeking pragmatic solutions to real problems and building a better nation.
The minister, who gave the accolade in his five-page conversation to Nigerian youths amid the #EndSARS protest, said for the youths to seek improved welfare for the Police that had inflicted hardship on them, means they are not seeking to destroy but to build.
He said the protest by the youth has enhanced the liberties and freedoms of all Nigerians and government must respond to the agitations and valid yearnings in the society.
“Yet, all in all, the youth-led protests have done the nation and its people a service. Good police action will help all of us but police misconduct adversely touches Nigerians of every demography. By demonstrating for an end to brutality, you have enhanced the liberties and freedoms of all Nigerians”.
“Government is nothing but a public service. Leadership must respond to the agitations and valid yearnings of the society. In this case, this government is doing that. The demands are being met as swiftly and practicably as possible. SARS has been dissolved and will not come back. A multi-stakeholder committee to address youth demands and relevant issues is already in place”.
“Shortly after the protests began, President Muhammadu Buhari issued a public notice, vowing that police reforms have started with the dissolution of SARS. Beyond dissolution of SARS, the police as an institution will undergo a reform process intended to promote community-police cooperation and to weed out unqualified and bad officers. Institutional change and reform are coming and the government will fulfill this solemn promise”.
“This episode is a dual lesson to us all. First, it instructs us on how law enforcement will not act. Secondly, it also shows how citizens can peacefully relay their grievances to the government and it will take curative action. In this vein, the right to protest is part of the fabric of a responsive democratic setting.”