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Catholic Secretariat seeks intervention in EndSARS protests

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
21 October 2020   |   2:55 am
The Department of Church and Society, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, yesterday, charged elder statesmen, opinion leaders, and women to speak up and proffer solutions to the ongoing EndSARS protests since their children have been on the streets. It said Federal Government’s continued silence on the issue was worrisome, lamenting that failure to address the issues…

The Department of Church and Society, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, yesterday, charged elder statesmen, opinion leaders, and women to speak up and proffer solutions to the ongoing EndSARS protests since their children have been on the streets.

It said Federal Government’s continued silence on the issue was worrisome, lamenting that failure to address the issues had continued to worsen the situation.

The group warned that it would be devastating for government to try to arm-twist the protesters with intimidation and the use of security agencies, stressing that the use of force or Operation Crocodile Smile, could worsen the already toxic and volatile environment.

It also canvassed a holistic reform of the Nigerian Police, the nation’s security architecture and the diverse structures of governance to reflect true service for the fullness of life for all Nigerians, insisting that nothing short of these aspirations would be acceptable.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, the National Director, Department of Church and Society Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Reverend Father Uchechukwu Obodoechina, argued that government should listen to the protesting youth, take them seriously,ly and do justice to the credible demands.

“This is most urgent in the light of the victims of police brutality, living and dead. Just compensation is inevitable, while the perpetrators of impunity in the police force should be fished out and prosecuted.

“Although pursuing a worthy cause, since their demands align with the tenets of democracy and good governance, the youth must avoid violence, banditry and taking the laws into their hands, lest the message and aim of their protests are defeated.

The Federal Government, just as a matter of urgency, develop effective strategies that would ensure inclusive governance, strengthening of the judicial, health, educational and social systems to serve the common good of all citizens,” he stated.

Obodoechina pointed out that government should prioritise requests to reform, retrain and reorient the police force, adding that it was not enough to rename the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to SWAT, but that the police personnel should be reoriented on the need to respect, protect and promote the fundamental rights of citizens.

He argued that it remained the government’s duty to take proactive steps to ensure peace, security, and stability in the country and warned that there would be no lasting basis for peace without justice.

“The department upholds that the dignity of the human person is inviolable and non-negotiable and that the Police Force and other security outfits within and outside the country are instituted to guarantee the security of life and property of citizens,” he added.

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