#EndSARS: ECOWAS Urges Nigerian Protesters To Remain Peaceful

Sub-Regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, has called on protesters demanding for an end to police brutality in Nigeria to remain peaceful.

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, in a statement issued on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, expressed concerns over how the protests have turned violent.

Some 78 protesters have reportedly been massacred by the Nigerian army in Lekki, Lagos.

The massacre is said to have taken place early on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

“ECOWAS Commission notes with concern that demonstrations by Nigerian youth calling for police reform, particularly the abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, accused of misconduct by those demonstrating, have turned violent,” the statement read.

It said “ECOWAS Commission expresses its condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives during the protests and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.”

According to the statement,  “While ECOWAS Commission recognizes the right of citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and protests, it is also of the view that those rights should be exercised in a non-violent manner.”

“In this regard, ECOWAS Commission calls on all protesters to remain peaceful in the conduct of their demonstrations. It also urges the Nigerian security operatives to exercise restraint in the handling of the protests and act professionally.”

“ECOWAS Commission further notes that, in an effort to address the demands of the protesting youth, the Federal Government of Nigeria took important decisions regarding disbandment of SARS, comprehensive police reforms and investigation of cases of police brutality.”

“It encourages the Nigerian Authorities to conduct the investigation rapidly.”

“Finally, ECOWAS Commission appeals to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Nigerian youth and the civil society to urgently pursue dialogue for an early and amicable resolution of this social unrest and maintain the Nigerian image as a bastion of law and order.”

By Melvin Tarlue