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National Assembly leaders want #EndSARS protests halted to make space for reforms

#EndSARS campaigners question the government’s commitment to reform, but the government says it needs some stability to get things done.

• October 18, 2020
Ahmad Lawan
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan (Credit: Twitter)

The leaders of the National Assembly met President Muhammadu Buhari today, and they have appealed to #EndSARS protesters to give the government space to execute reforms.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan (APC) and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila (APC) met the president as demonstrations continued around the country.

With the speaker by his side, Mr. Lawan said after the meeting, “Since the protests have taken place and the demands have been accepted, the time has come for the protests to stop, because government needs to have sufficient time and a clement environment to implement the demands of the protesters.

“I am taking this opportunity to appeal to our youthful protesters that the protests have already yielded the desired results.”

#EndSARS campaigners want the government to visibly dismantle the police unit SARS and initiate reform to end police brutality and corruption. The government has agreed to some of the demands and taken steps to implement them.

For instance, SARS has been shut down and the police say the unit’s officers will be assessed before redeployment. States such as Lagos and Kaduna are also preparing separate probes into the crisis. But having heard these in the past, campaigners are not convinced that government and police are committed to reform this time.

“If the issues have not been accepted then there would be genuine reasons to continue with the demonstrations,” said Mr. Lawan. “But since the issues have been accepted, we should give the government time to implement the issues.”

Protests in cities such as Lagos and Abuja have disrupted traffic, and some worry that a prolonged crisis could dent the weak economy.

Mr. Lawan said, “We also need to have our economy to continue to go on. When you try to stop everybody from engaging in their local businesses, closing roads to market and other economic places, we detract from the economy of the country and that is not the best way to go.”

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