FAITH body the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) has thrown its weight behind the ongoing #EndSARS protests in Nigeria saying the movement is a true representation of the problems the nation is facing.
Over the last fortnight, there have been widespread demonstrations across Nigeria and in the diaspora to protest the recent brutal killings by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit. It all sparked off a fortnight ago when Sars operatives killed a young boy identified as Joshua Ambrose in cold blood in Delta State but unfortunately for them, videographer Prince Nicholas Makolomi, recorded the whole incident live.
So fierce has been the public mood that the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu has been forced to announce the dissolution of the Sars unit. Adding its voice to the saga, the CBCN endorsed the protest against police brutality over the weekend, saying the protests are truly justified.
CBCN president Augustine Akubeze, said: “The bishops gave full support of the ongoing action by Nigerian youths who are seeking an end to police brutality and general reform of the security system. The bishops said the youths are avowing their lawful right by demanding for justice and peace for all from extra-judicial killings, unlawful arrests, profiling of youths as criminals, the invasion of youths’ privacy by searching phones and laptops without any warrant or any just cause and the incarceration of many of the youths in the Sars custody without trial.”
“EndSARS goes beyond the Sars and it is morally justified. We support the youths who have taken this step and we caution that they are allowed without any intimidation to exercise their right to peaceful demonstration and should not be provoked or incited to violence.”
His statement condemned the setting up of Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team to replace the Sars unit which was notorious for human rights violations. Bishop Akubeze said setting up a new outfit shows poor judgment on the part of the federal government.
In addition, the bishops accused the government of either not willing to allow peace and justice prevail, or totally lacking an understanding of the enormous problems at hand. Their group has joined a host of other Nigerian clerics such as Enoch Adeboye, Sam Adeyemi, David Oyedepo and Johnson Suleiman, who have endorsed the ongoing protests.
Bishop Akubeze added: “We the members of the CBCN have followed the protests with keen interest and call on the federal government of Nigeria once again to listen to the cry for justice so that peace can reign in our country. The protest seems to have a life of its own and it is spreading all over the country; this shows that most Nigerians are facing the same oppression and brutality inflicted by the Sars.
“We urge the federal government to fulfil its primary constitutional responsibility of securing life and property of every Nigerian and provide opportunities for our children to realise their God-given potentials. The audacity and impunity with which the Sars officials have been operating all the while is a manifestation of the failing State of Nigeria.
“Various bodies and patriotic Nigerians have expressed the opinion that just ending the Sars will not solve the enormous problems of Nigeria because it is futile treating symptoms of a disease when the root cause is known.”