One of the prominent faces of the #EndSARS movement for police reform, Aisha Yesufu, has said the Federal Government made negotiations with protesters impossible by coming up with different excuses.
She stated this on Sunday in a virtual interview with academic and historian, Toyin Falola, insisting that #EndSARS protesters were ready to dialogue with the government before violence erupted in the country but the latter frustrated the conciliatory efforts.
Yesufu said, “On the 19th of October, a week after the 5/5 demand, the #EndSARS protesters put out what has been done, they put out the things that needed to be done, what they wanted now, what they wanted in the short to mid-term and what they wanted in the short to long term.
“So, there was leadership; they were coming to the negotiation table. It was the government that made all sort of excuses. I will tell you candidly that it was the Nigerian government that didn’t have leadership and up till now, the Nigerian government hasn’t shown any leadership, it’s not the #EndSARS protesters.”
Yesufu also said the over two weeks nationwide demonstration was not infiltrated by hoodlums as said by the government.
“Many people say that the #EndSARS protest was infiltrated and I say categorically to them, the #EndSARS protest was never and hasn’t been infiltrated. What happened was that government brought in thugs, government-sponsored thugs came and attack #EndSARS protesters. These thugs were brought in military vans, in police vans.
“While that was going on, the police refused to do anything, they stood by. When the #EndSARS protesters were able to apprehend them and handed them over to the police, the police refused to arrest them,” she alleged.
Yesufu also condemned the freezing of the bank accounts of #EndSARS promoters by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The #EndSARS demonstrations in October led to the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, came up with the Special Weapons and Tactics team as replacement for the scrapped police unit. The protests later turned bloody when rampaging hoodlums took to the streets and wreaked havoc on lives and properties in the country.