By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
An All Progressives Congress (APC) support group, comprising majorly youths, at the weekend said the protests by the Nigerian youths against police brutality, under the guise of #End SARS Now, are not in any way targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari or APC government, which they said does not condone extra-judicial killings.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, at the APC national Secretariat, the leader of the group, which identified itself as APC Young Stakeholders Forum, Barrister Aliyu Shehu, also appealed to the youths to leave the streets now that their requests have been accepted by the President.
He justified the demonstration and protests by the youths on the grounds that police brutality and extra-judicial killings transcends party and religious loyalty. He observed further that the nationwide protests which has threatened the peace and unity of the country was borne out of long time distrust and alienation of the youths who constitute majority of the population by the ruling class.
The APC support group said “We want to put it on record that we acknowledge the genuineness behind these agitations, just as we appreciate the unity and resilience that has been shown by Nigerian youths in the past few days by the Nigerians. It is a testament to the true spirit of the desire to enthrone a nation that works for all. Power truly belongs to the people and Nigerian youths have demonstrated this.”
“We acknowledge the fact that these protests, which have become sustained despite government agreeing to the demands is as a result of the long years of mistrust between the government and the people, but we are not oblivious of the fact that the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed and already showing the desire to bridge that gap and right the wrongs of many years, predating this government.
“That is why we want to call on the understanding of young members and supporters of our party, the APC not to see the protests from purely the point of standing against the government as the brutality of the police or SARS does not recognize political affiliation when they occur. It is on this note also that we want to call on our fellow Nigerians who are still on the streets protesting not to see this protest as an end, but a means to an end.
“The right to protest is ours; no government can strip us of that power and this government has demonstrated clear understanding of these rights by continuously allowing protests to go on so long as they remain peaceful. Let us leave the streets and go back home. If possible, form civil organizations that will engage government even better!
“Let’s not make other people suffer. We need not block roads as people with emergencies are bound to be in them. We need not ground commercial activities as people need to eat. We should not be the monsters we are trying to fight.”
However, there was a mild drama at the venue of the briefing as one of the youths kicked against the call by the group to Nigerian youths to leave the streets, saying the nationwide protests are not politically inclined.
According to him, there is nothing wrong with the protest, saying that the protesters cuts across all the political parties, hence it should be backed by all well meaning Nigerians.