…rejects nomination of Lauretta Onochies as INEC Commissioner
The Atiku Care Foundation is calling for a total reformation of the Nigeria Police to restore the confidence of the people.
The organization said this had become imperative in view of the ongoing protests by the youths who are rejecting brutality by some operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
In a statement in Abuja on Thursday by its Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, Remi Adebayo, the Atiku Care Foundation is asking the Federal Government to accept the protests as reflections of the systemic failure by current and successive administrations in securing the country.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to overhaul the police to be more effective in discharging their duties while respecting the rights of Nigerian citizens.
“The #EndSARS protests are legitimate demands by the Nigerian youths who want to live in a country where citizens are protected by a professional and friendly police force with which they can trust and engage.
“That the protesters have refused to vacate the streets in spite of the acceptance of their demands by the government and police authorities is indicative of lack of confidence and trust in leadership at all levels”, the ACF noted.
The organisation cautioned that using force or sponsored groups to forcefully disperse the protesters could lead to anarchy since the protesters have been conducting themselves peacefully from the outset.
“While appreciating the steps taken by the government to address the demands of the #EndSARS protesters so far, it is disheartening to see opposing groups disrupting peaceful protests in Abuja and Lagos without any protection from the security agencies.
“We want to remind government that right to peaceful protest in support or against any policy is enshrined in our constitution and it is the responsibility of the law enforcement agents to protect every peaceful protester so as to prevent anarchy,” the statement urged.
The ACF noted that while disbanding SARS or establishment of the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) may not bring satisfactory solutions, it is important at this level for an all-stakeholders engagement to reposition the Nigerian Police as an internal security formation that citizens can trust.
The organization appealed to protesters to remain peaceful and vigilant, urging them to give government a chance to implement the new reforms.
“We must remember that the police and indeed every other sector of our society have patriotic and unpatriotic elements and so we must encourage the patriotic officers among the police to help identify and prosecute those who are giving it a bad image,” the ACF stressed.
In the same vein, the non-governmental organization asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the nomination of his aide, Ms Lauretta Onochie as a National Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“This nomination of the presidential aide on new media, a venomous attacker of the opposition political parties, unapologetic defender of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a card-carrying member and former senatorial candidate under the party as INEC Commissioner is a mockery of this democracy.
“We believe as a man of integrity and custodian of the Nigerian Constitution to which he swore to protect, President Muhammadu Buhari would not want to disregard fairness for nepotism and blind partisanship.
“Every Nigerian of voting age is aware that a position at the non-partisan election umpire should not be given to partisan personalities like Mrs. Onochie in clear violation of our electoral laws,” ACF said.
The group therefore called on the Senator Ahmad Lawan-led Senate to resist acts of partisanship by rejecting the nomination of Mrs Onochie to set an example that could strengthen the nation’s democracy.