#EndSars: Using force to suppress peaceful protest unacceptable, says Plan | Dailytrust

#EndSars: Using force to suppress peaceful protest unacceptable, says Plan

Protesters at Lekki-Epe tollgate early in the week
Protesters at Lekki-Epe tollgate early in the week

A child rights and humanitarian organisation, Plan International has condemned the use of force on peaceful protesters by Nigerian security operatives at the Lekki toll gate protesting ground, in Lagos State.

The protests over a now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), have been on for the past two weeks, with demonstrators using the social media hashtag #EndSARS to rally crowds.

Plan International Nigeria’s Country Director, Hussaini Abdu, said, “The use of brute force against young people who were exercising their rights to peaceful protest and making demands that could improve human rights and citizen participation is a huge setback for a country that has lived through almost three decades of military authoritarian rule.

“It is antithetical to democratic norms and capable of plunging the nation into anarchy.

“This unacceptable state violence could stifle youth voices and further shrink the already injured civic space. It is a major threat to democratic culture that young people are beginning to demonstrate.”

Abdu urged the public to avoid any form of violence and destruction of public property as it not only derails developmental gains made by the country, but also presents opportunity for politicians with corrupt tendencies to further help themselves from the public till.

He also urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the political leadership across the country to engage with young people and open up the political space for their effective participation, rather than the use of force as happened in Lekki.

He said, “No nation can make progress when the most significant segment of its population is being brutalised by security operatives who are paid to protect them.”

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