The TakeItBack Movement, a popular pro-democracy Nigerian group, has issued a warning to the police.
The group warned the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Ngozi Onadeko to make sure that policemen under her command do not threaten, harass or kill youths that will flood streets on October 10 for the #EndSARS remembrance protest.
The group said this in its reaction to a statement by the Oyo State Police Command this week that it will repel the planned protest.
A statement signed by the Command’s spokesperson, Adewale Osifeso, which was made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital said parents, guardians and leaders that wield various degrees of influence in religious, educational and traditional capacities are passionately advised to warn their wards and proteges against being used by merchants of anarchy, as violators would be thoroughly sanctioned and prosecuted.
According to a statement signed by the Secretary of the group, Lekan Adisa, which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday, the policemen and other security agencies are reminded that peaceful protest remains a part of fundamental human rights.
The statement read, “In response to the news on social media concerning the upcoming memorial of #EndSARS victims and press released by Oyo state police command, TIB sees that report as needless and a way of creating unnecessary fear into a peaceful society.
“We did not forget that it was police brutality that preceded the retaliation by angry youths named hoodlums during the 20-10-2020 protest.
“CP Ngozi Onadeko can testify that every protest in Oyo state was carried out peacefully before police themselves turned it to violence and start shooting at peaceful protesters around the state.
“We youths lost about five protesters at Ogbomoso, some youths in Ibadan including men in uniform and so many people are still on the hospital beds responding to treatment since last year.
“Also nine innocent youths in relation with #EndSARS protest are still in detention. All that happened due to the police incapability to observe the rule of engagement in a time like that.
“Moreover, the peaceful youths of Oyo state see the report as intimidation, a way to clamp down on our rights and to deny justice. Peaceful protest remains our constitutional right and your job as the police is to ensure safety, to save lives and to prevent hoodlums from hijacking the peaceful demonstration.
“We have come to the realisation that Nigeria needs people’s police not government’s police.
“We, therefore, advise the CP Ngozi Onadeko as a mother to make sure her men in uniform carry out their operation with the utmost respect for the people they are meant to protect and in accordance with the rule of law.
“As a movement, we are clamouring for a better society and fighting for the rights of the citizens by using the instrument of law. We remain law-abiding citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”