#EndSARS: Time to cease protests

SIR: In view of renewed agitation for the second wave of #EndSARS protests across Nigeria, it is my humble opinion that the protesters should postpone further actions to allow adequate time for the government to address the fundamental demands appropriately.

However, it would be irresponsible and treacherous not to adequately and genuinely respond to #EndSARS demands. The #EndSARS is a movement which is synonymous with change – the change desired by the Nigerian youth to move Nigeria forward in the 21st Century, politically, economically and socially.

While it is noteworthy that every Nigerian has a constitutional right to protest peacefully, the youth should wait for further action until the findings of the panels are released or concluded within the time frame scheduled. The young people should exercise the right to protest only when the demands are not met after the conclusion of the panel and suggested schedule of implementation.

However, the government must refrain, cease and desist from harassment and intimidation of young protesters.

Furthermore, assurance of full cooperation in good faith by the government to implement the demands of the protesters including restructuring, electoral reforms and other constitutional reforms should be the foundation of the negotiation.

The protesters demands are germane and bears restating: End to police brutality as epitomized by SARS; the sacking of the security chiefs who have run dry of ideas to end insecurity in the country; an end to insecurity across the country; full deregulation of the oil and gas sector to allow more investments for job creation; the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); full deregulation of the power sector to allow investment capital flow to generate, transmit and distribute more power and create jobs, and for the government to hands-off petroleum pricing to enable free-market determination of pricing.

It includes closure of the borders, particularly in the north, to stop the free entry of foreign herdsmen and bandits; inclusive government for all tribes and regions of Nigeria with 50 percent youths in charge of governance; allocation of more funds to the education sector to provide better teaching tools and to pay better salaries to end ASUU strikes; changing our academic curriculum to reflect modern-day realities, and, placing all politicians on minimum wage to attract genuine public servants.

Other demands are: The migration to 100 per cent electoral reforms with electronic voting tied to our BVN and GSM numbers; the return of Nigeria to regional governance structure or restructure the country and embrace true federalism; the immediate reform of the Nigeria Police Force and letting every state or region create its own police service; the enthronement of university education as a minimum qualification for public office holders at all levels of government from the president to local government and ward chairpersons.

Not forgetting the stripping of ex-governors and all elected and appointed public servants of all benefits after office; the increase in salaries of our doctors, nurses, teachers, police, military officers, and civil servants.

The government should hands-off ownership and management of businesses at all levels; naming and shaming of looters and make criminal offenders, and looters face trial in their home states and villages to shame them and their families; stopping foreign medical trips for public servants.

These demands are not too much. We expect government to address them. To #ENDSARS protesters, it is time to retreat; but not to surrender!

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