The Peoples Democratic Party Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to handle issues arising from the recent #EndSARS protests with utmost caution and show respect for the youth.
The caucus stated that the government must follow all democratic principles in dealing with those arrested due to their involvement in the protests, stressing that the rule of law must be observed in whatever measures it is willing to take against them.
Leader of the caucus, Kingsley Chinda, stated this in a statement issued on Tuesday, titled ‘Post-EndSARS Protest: ‘We Must Tread Carefully and Respect the Leaders of Tomorrow’, PDP Reps Caution FG Call for Observance of Democratic Tenets, Rule of Law.’
Chinda said the caucus noted “with trepidation” that in the last few weeks, the media had been inundated with news reports of actions taken by the government against #EndSARS protesters and alleged supporters.
The statement partly read, “These actions, which include seizure of passports/travel documents, freezing of bank accounts, court orders sought and obtained by the government against citizens, de-registration of companies perceived to be supporters of #EndSars by the Corporate Affairs Commission and arrests and prosecution of some genuine protesters, show the insidious and ridiculous length the government has gone in muzzling the rights and freedoms of citizens, whose only offence is that they dared to speak truth to power and to a government that has become tone-deaf, on auto-drive and, of course, blind to the sufferings of Nigerians.
“Though it is the constitutional responsibility of government to maintain law and order, we believe that this purposive duty imposed by the Constitution must be discharged in a manner that accords respect for the rights of citizens and within the bounds of the rule of law. So far, the actions of the government speak volume of the way it continues to treat the citizens with disdain, stoking the flames of anarchy that would invariably devour the relationship between it and the citizens.
“When a government persists on the path of unreasonable and irrational actions, the tension that ensues between it and the citizens can only grow into civil resistance of citizens who consider it as an enemy and not partners in nation-building.
“We do hope that the government retraces its steps and engages our youths as partners and not dissidents that must be treated with scorn and discredited for voicing their opinions on the many unfortunate happenstances in our country. This government must free itself from fifth columnists bent on derailing our democracy.”
The PDP lawmakers further warned the government against muddling up the genuine agitation of the protesters with the subsequent hijacking of the protests by hoodlums.