- Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have endorsed the ongoing #EndSARS protests demanding an end to Police brutality and total reform of the security system in Nigeria.
The Bishops said the ongoing EndSARS protests by Nigerian youths are morally justified and the government must realise that what they are clamoring for under the #EndSARS campaign is a comprehensive reform of the entire Police Force.
In a statement on Saturday October 17, Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akubeze, President of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the bishops noted that the audacity with which the SARS officials have been operating in the country is a manifestation of the failing state of Nigeria.
The clergymen said that disbanding SARS and setting up a new outfit called Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), shows the government’s lack of understanding and sincerity to address the issue.
The bishops further urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to listen to the cry for justice in order for peace to reign in the country.
Part of the statement read:
“Thus the cries of our children protesting against the brutality of SARS that manifests in extrajudicial 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.
“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 protests seem 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 would not solve the enormous problems of Nigeria, because it is futile treating symptoms of a disease when the root cause is known.
“We reiterate that restructuring this country is a desirable path to be towed given the various developments in this nation. The knee jerk reaction of the administration by abolishing the SARS and setting up the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team portrays either the absence of an understanding of the entire problem or a lack of sincerity to address the issue.
“The Nigerian Government must realise that what the youths, on behalf of Nigerians, clamour for under the code name #EndSARS is a comprehensive reform of the entire Police Force and not a change of name; they call for a reform of all our government institutions and a reform of the entire nation. They are asking for a system that will be hard on crimes and criminals in the society within the ambience of the law, while at the same time treating every human being, citizens and visitors alike, with respect and dignity.”
“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.”