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Catholic church warns against sanctioning protesters, recognises The Guardian

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Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) has warned the government against sanctioning #EndSARS protesters, urging dialogue as the way out.

It also cautioned against the move to regulate social media, noting that the medium was bigger than any government and would outlive any establishment.

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The National Social Communications Director, Rev. Fr. Mike Umoh, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, urged those in authority to “know that power is transient and should avoid using their positions to attack their imaginary enemies.”

According to him, issues raised during the #EndSARS protests “cannot be waved away and you can only suppress it for some time, but it will find its voice stronger and better.”

He continued: “On sanctions against the #EndSARS protesters, we need to know that #EndSARS is not political, tribal or religious, it is the youths who have seen their parents oppressed for too long, it is the youths who don’t seem to find hope, it all came spontaneously. So while you may try to crush #EndSARS physically, the spirit of #EndSARS cannot be crushed. #EndSARS is a spirit, it is a revolution, it is a fire. Cover it, you will only make it to burn more. So the easiest way to respond to #EndSARS is for the government to listen to issues raised by the protesters.

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“#EndSARS has come to stay physically, spiritually, and as a movement. The earlier we realise that the better for us.”

Umoh, who called on those in charge of regulating the media to be very careful, advised: “The social media is massive and revolutionary. And when you talk about revolutions in history, it is unstoppable. The best thing is, if that revolution is calling you to order, check yourself, work within it, and regulate for the good of all.

“We urge regulators of media and communications in the country to be sincere in the discharge of their duties and avoid policies that will deprive the people of their fundamental rights to information and freedom of expression,” the director added.

Expressing appreciation for the support the Catholic church in Nigeria has enjoyed from the media over the years, Umoh presented plaques to some organisations, including The Guardian.

Also speaking, CSN’s Secretary-General, Very Rev. Fr. Zachariah Samjumi, noted that the country was operating on “a dangerous terrain” imploring the press on factual reportage in this “era of social media where communication technology has been manipulated to cause confusion and chaos.”

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