The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation over the #EndSARS protests that have engulfed the country.
The union said the nation presently “sits on a time bomb.”
The #EndSARS protests, which began nearly two weeks ago, are calling for an end to police brutality in the country.
At least 12 people have been killed across the country and police authorities last week warned against the use of force on protesters.
Two states – Lagos and Edo – have declared a curfew, following attacks on police stations and correctional facilities, while the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has just ordered the deployment of anti-riot police officers across the 36 states and the FCT.
Mr Buhari is yet to address the nation over the happenings in the country.
The NUJ, in a statement on Tuesday, said it was “alarmed by the continued silence” of the president.
The statement was signed by the national secretary of the union, Shuaibu Leman.
“The disbanded SARS was legendary in its abuse of human rights,” the union said.
“Although the Inspector General of police quickly disbanded SARS and substituted it with the Special Weapon Attack Team (SWAT), the protesters were not impressed. To them, the haste with which SWAT was set up was a gimmick to thwart the agitation for the complete reform of the police.
“We agree that proper measures in addressing the grievances of the protesters have not been taken and we suggest that the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari should come out and address Nigerians with a clear strategy on how to tackle these grievances.
“Certainly, Mr President has not lost his voice? Nigerians are waiting as the nation sits on a time bomb,” the statement said.
The union also asked the police chief, Mr Adamu, to put an end to impunity against journalists in the country.
It specifically called for the release of Tom Oga, the publisher of Power Steering magazine, said to have been detained since last week on the order of the minister of state for power, Godwin Agba, for allegedly “defaming” him.
‘Father of the nation’
Also, Action Aid Nigeria called on President Buhari to address the nation in a national broadcast, describing him as a father, leader, and the president of Nigeria and urging him to give clear-cut responses to the demands of the protesters before it is too late.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the country director, Ene Obi.
The statement said Mr Buhari is saddled with the mandate of the people to manage the affairs of the country.
“The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, should see this as an opportunity to write his name in the sands of time by starting the process of transforming this country especially by responding to the demands of citizens.”
“The protest has moved from being a social media campaign to a peaceful protest by Nigerians across the globe in the last 13 days, with clear demands on the abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad accused of unlawful arrests, torture, and extra-judicial killings.”
AAN said it has observed that the peaceful protest is gaining more momentum across the country, with young people airing their grievances on rights violations and the need for an overhaul of the country’s security and governance architecture.
However, it said the latest twist and turns in the ongoing protest calls for concern and swift action before the situation degenerates into full swing anarchy.
ActionAid Nigeria called on security agencies to keep securing the streets to get unscrupulous elements with illegitimate interests off the peaceful protests, while respecting the rights of peaceful protesters.
“We applaud the resolve of Nigerian youths leading the revival across the country and the resolve to hold the government to account.”
“However, it is pertinent that decorum is maintained while resisting any calculated attempts by unknown elements to disrupt, the just cause for total reformation of our country, Nigeria.”
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