A coalition of civil societies has condemned the reaction of the Nigerian Army to the nationwide agitation against the brutality of the operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the country.
The group made of coalition of 14 CSOs released a statement on Friday, the coalition made up of 14 CSOs, warning the Nigerian Army to stay off the protest ground and focus on defending the territory against external forces instead of meddling in a civil matters.
The statement reads: “thinly veiled threat” issued by the army, saying it is “ill-conceived in the face of legitimate citizens’ protest and a threat to constitutionally guaranteed rights”.
“While #EndSARS is focused on the immediate concern of a brutish policing system, the protesters are also inherently voicing their anger against a governance system, which has failed to reckon with them,” the statement read.
“The accumulated anger of citizens over decades of failure in the delivery of basic social services, endemic corruption, and impunity of political office holders has precipitated distrust of, and lack of confidence in the state and its institutions.
“In this respect, we strongly condemn the thinly veiled threat issued by the Military High Command, wherein the unacceptable move is being made to crush the peaceful protests.
“We call on the military to immediately withdraw its ill-advised attempt to undermine the constitutional freedom of citizens to voice their displeasure about the state of the country.
“The Military should remain in their barracks and at their duty posts, defending the territorial integrity of the country, and not deployed in a dangerous anti-people and anti-democratic operation to crush a people who are exercising their right to freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly.”
Reminding the Nigerian authorities that the entire world is watching its response to the demands of the youth, it said the “illegal bans” on protests “constitute an ominous prelude to what we suspect would be a harsh clampdown on citizens”.
“We must reiterate here that the practice of dehumanizing citizens and stripping them of their dignity, which has become ingrained in the security and defence sectors, is a manifestation of the institutional decay and systemic crisis of governance, and is a measure of the failure of political leadership by Nigeria’s ruling class,” the statement read.