Tunde Bakare, Convener of Save Nigeria Group, says the federal government is not being sincere in its dealings with protesters demanding extensive police reforms.
Last month, demonstrators trooped out to streets nationwide to demand the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Although the federal government through the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced the abolishment of the police unit, that did not deter them as protests continued despite state sponsored thugs being unleashed on protesters.
They cited insincerity on the part of government having scrapped the brutal unit thrice earlier with no action thereafter. After soldiers killed protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, the demonstrations was suspended.
Days after, key figures suspected to have led the protests were reportedly included in a no-fly list, a report authorities described as untrue. While the dust on the no-fly list was yet to settle, some of the protest leaders were allegedly picked up by state agents.
A week after, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) froze bank accounts of the protest leaders. It later got a court order to back it up, saying funds in the accounts were traced to terrorism.
The actions of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s officials have been condemned by critics.
Mr Bakare, a former presidential running mate of Mr Buhari while reacting described the move as a sign of regression.
“Targeting and arresting citizens on trumped-up charges, deploying court probes as a tool of intimidation, and generally eroding our fragile peace, are deeply worrisome signs of regression,” the Citadel Global Community cleric said during sermon yesterday.
“To extend the olive branch to the youth in one breath, and to deprive the youth of the right to freedom of movement and property as enshrined in our constitution in another breath, will send confusing signals and cast doubts in their minds regarding the sincerity of the government,” he added.
He also frowned at the resolve of the present administration to regulate the social media despite rejection by Nigerians.