They continue, “The #EndSARS protest is a cry for justice for all victims of the SARS and police brutality, and a call for the prosecution of all those responsible for these crimes against humanity and their superiors under whose leadership such heinous atrocities were committed against innocent Nigerians.”
Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police announced the disbandment of SARS on October 11 saying that members of the controversial police unit are expected to be redeployed to other police formations, commands, and units.
On October 13, the head of police in Nigeria announced the formation of a new police unit, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), which is expected to carry out the duties that had been entrusted to the disbanded SARS.
In their message, CBCN members have referred to the formation of SWAT as a “knee jerk reaction of the administration,” adding that “the formation of the new police unit portrays either the absence of an understanding of the entire problem or a lack of sincerity to address the problem.”
Against this backdrop, the Bishops in Nigeria express their support for the nationwide youth-led protests and call on the Government to come to terms with the scope of the reforms the protestors are demanding.
Through the protests, the Bishops say, the youth are asserting their constitutional right by demanding for justice and peace for all from “extra-judicial 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 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,” CBCN say in their October 17 collective statement.
They add, “We unequivocally add our voice to those of our youths and that of every well-meaning Nigerian to condemn the excesses and the horrible operations of this police unit and the bad omen they portend to our democracy.”
“The cries for justice by our youths must be seen as a cry for peace in Nigeria. The youths want a Nigeria where there will be education without industrial strikes. They want a Nigerian society where the child of nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody. They want a Nigeria where knowledge and skills will meet gainful employment,” the members of CBCN say.
They add, “This cry is for a Nigeria where they are not treated as second class citizens but accorded equal opportunities to realize their potentials rather than being profiled as criminals by those who are supposed to protect them. Our youths desire a Nigeria they can be proud of and live in and raise their families and hand over to the next generation with great hope.”