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Ezekwesili warns Buhari against using security forces to trail, arrest #EndSARS protesters

The former Nigerian minister advises #EndSARS campaigners to raise the alarm when trailed by state agents.

• October 23, 2020
Oby Ezekwesili
Oby Ezekwesili [Photo credit: Council on Foreign Relations]

Former presidential candidate in the last general election, Oby Ezekwesili, has warned the Nigerian government to “back off” on an alleged plot to hound #EndSARS protesters in the country.

Mrs. Ezekwesili, a former minister of education, tweeted Friday evening that Nigeria’s security forces are not empowered by law to arrest citizens for expressing their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

She, therefore, urged #EndSARS campaigners to raise the alarm when trailed by state agents. 

“Any of #EndSARS Protesters who senses that the goons of @MBuhari are trailing them for arrest should please raise an alarm”, she said.

“The @NigeriaGov, @HQNigerianArmy, @PoliceNG has no right in a Democracy to arrest any citizen for expressing their freedoms and rights. Back off! Now.”

The former minister’s statement comes a day after President Muhammadu Buhari called on protesters demanding an end to police brutality, to discontinue the street demonstrations as the Federal Government will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of the nation.

Armed thugs had unleashed violence against protesters throughout the week, killing, wounding and destroying valuable assets around the country.

The government responded to the violence on Tuesday with a deployment of troops, who quickly opened fire at protesters in Lekki, killing many in what is now being widely seen as a massacre.

Mr. Buhari in a nationwide broadcast Thursday evening, said that the promptness with which his administration caved into the campaigners’ demand to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was misconstrued as a sign of weakness.

Some protesters have already complained online that they were being trailed by state agents, although they did not immediately provide specifics. 

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