By Tunde Opalana
Proffering a solution to the degenerating trend of the ongoing #EndSARS protests, the Senate on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency address the protesters and by extension, the nation, Daily Times gathered.
While calling on all tiers of government to put in place and sustain policies and programmes of socio-economic reforms that raise the standard and quality of life of Nigerians, the upper chamber urged the Federal Government to faithfully implement all the five demands of the #EndSARS movement and protesters with necessary timelines to rekindle confidence in government.
It as well appealed to the protesting youths to stop the protest, to kindly leave the streets in the interest of all and restoration of peace and order.
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 that are vital to the restricting and reshaping our federation to make it an inclusive and viable polity
The Senate while appealing to Nigerians to resort to use of legal and institutional channels of resolving conflicts and disputes, urged the police and other security agencies to operate strictly in accordance with the rules of engagement appropriate to a democratic environment that abuses the use of aggressive and brutal force against peaceful protesters.
The upper chamber also urged the Inspector General of Police to ensure a holistic, comprehensive reforms of the police to include the overhaul of the welfare, training and medical insurance of all members of the Nigerian Police Force.
The upper chamber also called on the Federal Government to inaugurate judicial panel to investigate past injustices and extra – judicial killings adding that members of such panel must be acceptable to the youths.
These resolutions were made following the debate of a motion by Sen. Biodun Olujinmi (Ekiti South) and others in which she notified the senate that despite the disbandment of the Special Anti – Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police on the order of President Buhari, the protest continued unabated.
Leading the motion, Olujinmi expressed worries that as genuine as demands of the protesters, the dangerous dimension of infiltration of the ranks of the protesters by hoodlums will defeat the purpose of the defeat.
She said the protest has definitely gone beyond the initial demand for an end to SARS and police brutality.
According to her, the protesters have put the entire nation on its toes and set in motion the long awaited processes of reforming virtually every sector of Nigeria’s national life.
She said it is expedient for the President to address the youth on the justified five point demands, to give them confidence which has been eroded and to accept government’s readiness to attend to the demands.
While Senators Ovie Omo-Agege and Enyinna Abaribe spoke in line with Olujinmi’s submission, Sen. Adamu Aliero asked the Federal Government not to hesitate in applying any other available means to dtop the protest should option of dialogue failed.
In his contribution, Sen.Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi) supported Olujinmi by stating that government should adopt dialogue in resolving the pending issue.
He said, “where dialogue fails, then we should use whatever means is 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 ensure that law and order is being maintained,” Aliero added.
Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo – Agege asked that all senators should be enlisted as co-sponsors of the motion because the protesting youths are their children.
He said the demands of the protesters should be identified with so far the protest remains peaceful but condemned the fact that “the very lofty, very genuine ideals of the protest is being hijacked”.
Omo – Agege urged the protesters to remain lawful, peaceful and give government enough time to address their demands.