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#Endsars Anniversary: Stakeholders call for re-training of security agents

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#Endsars Anniversary: Stakeholders call for re-training of security agents
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As the nation marks one year anniversary of the #Endsars protest, some stakeholders in Lagos have called for the training and re-training of security agents in preventing similar protests from escalating in future.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in 2020 a “march” with the hashtag #EndSARS calling for an end to police brutality by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was hijacked by hoodlums.

The aftermath resulted in loss of lives and destruction of property across the country.

Activities by angry protesters, as well as hoodlums who “cashed in” on the protest to unleash mayhem in Lagos and other parts of the country, included  acts of arson on police stations, court houses, television stations, as well as destruction of roads and other public infrastructure.

To mark the one year anniversary of the #Endsars protests, some Non-Governmental Organisations have called for accountability on the part of security agents.

While urging government to ensure that there is a re-training of security agents, they also called for the punishing of all those found guilty of contravening extant criminal laws during the #Endsars protest.

Mr Anthony Makolo, Director of the Makolo Anthony Empowerment Foundation, (MAEF), called for the training of police officers, as well as other security agents in the dispensation of their duties.

He said that there was also a dire need to train the security agents in devising more modern means of executing their operations, especially in the areas of intelligence gathering.

“There must be a serious training of the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force on the latest version of technological gathering of information, including analysis, investigation, arrest and prosecution of suspects.

“The authorities must now go beyond lip service in ensuring that there is a real reform within the Nigeria Police Force; these reforms must translate into holding each police officer accountable for torture or ill treatment meted on suspects,” he said

Makolo also noted that the #EndSARS movement simply demonstrated that whatever ethno-religious tension plaguing the nation could be effectively curtailed by unity.

According to him, since the protest saw all categories of people coming together to plead a common cause, it also means that Nigerians can achieve a lot in unism.

“Power belongs to the people, so, we can achieve a lot positively to better our nation if we unite.

“The authorities at all levels, must also be prompt in responding to the challenges of the people,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, Mrs Ebere Obiora, Ogun State Coordinator of the African Women Lawyers Association of Nigeria (AWLAN), underscored the need for government to be more responsive to the plight of its citizens.

She described the #EndSARS protest as a peaceful movement by Nigerian youths, against the indiscriminate abuse of human rights, extortion and extra-judicial killings, particularly but not limited to the SARS unit, of the Nigerian Police.

According to her, further into the protest, other issues of inequitable distribution of social goods became the focus of the protest.

“The youths had all rights and reasons to request for better leadership, and these are reasons that “ring true” to all ages in Nigeria, and through all ages since independence.

“The protest was not founded on new issues, so, the only way to stop future protests is to solve the issues being complained about,” she said

Obiora consequently urged government to continually be responsive to the needs of its citizens, adding that where this is ensured, there would be no need for the youths to “take to the streets”.

On his part, the Country Director for the Advocacy for Justice and Accountability (AJA), Mr Ogedi Ogu, urged government to ensure that those behind destruction in the #EndSARS protest were held accountable for their actions.

“To avoid such occurrences in the future, the Nigerian State must hold people accountable for their actions and inactions.

“The overzealous or trigger happy security agents must be held accountable for every action

“If the various actors whose actions and/or inactions triggered the #EndSARS are made to undergo the consequences of their actions, the intending reckless and unruly ones would have self-restraint and begin to learn how to fit into a civilian space,” he said

Ogu noted that the era of having security agencies who kill, maim and extort citizens whom they are meant to protect must be nipped in the bud, adding that “business as usual” must also be discouraged. (NAN)

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS

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Chief of Army Staff
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja
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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.

 

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Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates

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Defence HQ Logo
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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Defence and Security

Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading

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Federal House of Representatives
Federal House of Representatives
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A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

 

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