Members of the Medical Association of Nigerians Across Great Britain (MANSAG) are concerned about the graphic footage showing officers from the Military and the Nigeria’s Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) Police Unit behaving unprofessionally in Nigerian cities.
Some of their actions involved shooting at the younger protesters in the street, which has sparked mass fury across Nigeria and the World and fueled long-held demands for reform. Our condolences go out to the families of all the deceased and the injured.
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The actions of the SARS and other law enforcement agents are unfortunate. We strongly condemn all the deadly violence against the unarmed peaceful protesters demanding their rights for the basic essentials of life (security, employment, good education, basic amenities) and re-enactment of our value systems for good governance in Nigeria. We are urging Nigerian security forces to exercise restraint in handling protests and to act professionally, and we call on all protesters to remain peaceful in their demonstrations.
We welcome the action of the President for announcing Police reform, disbanding of SARS and their retraining before redeployment. However, it is rather worrying on learning that this is about the fourth time there has been an announcement of either the disbanding or reform of the same force.
Youth in Nigeria are isolated and underrepresented in the governance across all governments in Nigeria. The younger generation is knowledgeable, equipped and prepared to address the fast-moving issues of today and they can be an asset for the establishment leadership. The future of our country relies on Nigerian youths.
We must recognize that they a voice, and we must let them use it and be prepared to listen. I hope our governments can focus on inclusion using the tremendous potential of our youth to positively effect change, economic growth, and prosperity.
The battle against SARS-Cov-2 is not over, and we plead to all Nigerians to observe the trio of Hands, Face and Space: wash your hands, wear a face covering and make space (maintaining social distance), to help to protect each other.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ibrahim I. Bolaji (MANSAG PRESIDENT)