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I Stand With You All – Atiku Condemns Use Of Force Against ‘ENDSARS’ Protesters

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Atiku Abubakar
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Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has strongly condemned the use of force against protesters across the country demanding an end to the operations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.

Reacting via his Twitter handle on Friday, Atiku stressed that the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedom of assembly and expression must be protected at all costs by the government.

He, however, commended the youths for their bravery and tenacity in trooping out into the streets to make their voices heard on the ceaseless brutality, unlawful arrest and extrajudicial killings by the SARS operatives.

“I woke up to the peaceful #EndSARSProtests going on in Lagos and other cities in the country,” the former vice president wrote.

“First, I would like to commend the tenacity of our brave youths who have stayed out on the streets all day and night to make their voices heard. I stand with you all.

“Protests are an essential part of any democracy as we have seen the world over, and should be seen as an opportunity for dialogue between our people and our leaders.

“Thus, it is essential that the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression must be protected at all costs.

“I strongly condemn any disproportionate use of force on protesters across the nation.

“I also call on the relevant authorities to ensure our youths are heard, and all incidents of excessive use of force by security agencies against protesters are investigated.”

Amid the ongoing protest and outrage by many including celebrities like Runtown and Falz, against the continued operation of the SARS operative, Frank Mba, Force Spokesperson, said it will be difficult for the squad to the scrapped by any responsible organisation, given the huge investment the government had made for training them and their critical roles in curbing crime in the society.

“If the #EndSARS hashtag is seen as a symbolic call for the reform of SARS, I would say clearly that the leadership of the NPF is in line and ready to work with those making that call,” Mba said during an interview on Channels TV breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday.

“However, if the hashtag should be seen as a call for the total disbandment of SARS, I would tell you very clearly that it will be difficult for any responsible organisation to work that path, taking into cognisance the amount of investment in training that government has made in setting up that department and the very critical roles it is playing.

“As a matter of fact, we have received a lot of calls from people particularly in states like Maiduguri, Yobe, and some other parts of the north where SARS operatives are deeply embedded in the fight against banditry, insurgency.

“And these people have made it very clear that ending SARS is not even an option for them because of the critical roles SARS operatives are playing in those areas, heavily on bandits, terrorists and other kinds of criminals.”

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