Written by Ere-ebi AGEDAH, Williams ABAH

FCT ban on protests: ‘Undemocratic and premature’

On Thursday, October 15, 2020, The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, placed a ban on street demonstrations, protests, and processions, alleging that protesters failed to comply with Covid-19 guidelines regulating public gatherings. The ban followed the shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, which sparked violence in some parts of Lagos metropolis. In this issue, some Nigerians, who spoke to Ere-Ebi AGEDAH and Williams ABAH said the ban is a breach of the country’s laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USMAN MUHAMMED: For me, it was a right step to bring the controversy under control. The protesters have made their demands to the government, and the government has taken the first step by dissolving SARS. Why are they protesting again? I do not think there is wisdom behind what they are doing currently. We all understand the situation on ground, but we can only address them through dialogue.

Violence cannot bring the understanding we are looking for. As we speak, the protest has been hijacked by miscreants who hide under the guise of this ugly incident to perpetrate their evil acts. Something urgent needs to be done. We cannot continue this way. The unity of Nigeria is very important.

The pressure on the president to address the nation is a good one. I want to advice parents to monitor their children, and restrict them from involving in any illegal act. Our country is so fragile at the moment. Therefore, there is need for us to exercise caution in anything concerning our nation. If we all put heads together, we can brainstorm and come out with a workable solution to this crisis. Nigeria is one and all efforts must be put in place by government to unite the country, where everyone will be given a sense of belonging.

 

 

DENRELE: It is quite disturbing to see events unfold in our country and FCT in particular. The rights of the people are trampled upon by government under the disguise of promoting peace and orderliness.

I understand government’s position. But we must consider the fact that the youths who are on the street are unarmed and peaceful. In a situation like this, when all parts of the country are adding their voices to the fight for a better Nigeria, it would be unjust for the FCT administration to deprive FCT youths the opportunity to add their voices to this struggle.

What I think the government can do is to ensure that adequate security is provided for the youths to make sure that miscreants do not hijack the peaceful protests. To out-rightly place a ban, I think is not a good decision that should be carried out at this time.

The young people are fighting for the good of all and the FCT administration should not stand as a stumbling block to the greater good which is a better Nigeria. We should support them. On the side of the youths, they should not disrupt vehicular flow on any of the routes used by them during the protest because this will affect economic and social activities in the FCT and other neighbouring states.

 

PRECIOUS AGALA: Since the commencement of the ENDSARS movement, I must confess, their activities have inflicted untold hardship on workers and other commuters, many of whom walked for hours to get to their destinations.

Reports this last week have regrettably shown that the protests have been hijacked by hoodlums and people with ulterior motives bent on destabilising the country. People are attacked, businesses looted and innocent people becoming victims of a failed government.

With all this in mind, I can say that the decision of the FCT administration to place a ban on the protests is a good one. Since issues raised during the protests have been made clear, the time has come for the protests to stop so government can have sufficient time and a peaceful environment to implement the demands of the protesters.

 

CHIJOKE ONURA: I normally don’t like to publicly comment on such issues but it is quite clear that both the federal government and the FCT administration do not have a human face, and are not ready for the change they promised Nigerians.

How do you expect youths in the FCT to express their grievances if they cannot come out to protest peacefully? It’s not done anywhere. It is all over social media that this protests have been peaceful. So why the ban?

You may argue that there have been pockets of violence here and there; but again, who is sponsoring these thugs if not the powers that be? So it all boils down to government’s insincerity and administration of lies and deception.

Let the young people gather and air their views. Listen to their complaints and carry out the necessary actions so that there can be peace in the land. For me, it is an outright no on the ban of street protest in the FCT.

 

EJIOFOR OKEZIE: I do not think it is right for any responsible government to stop a peaceful protest. The protesters are not carrying arms, they came out, demonstrated peacefully and made their demands to the government. So why should they be banned from protesting?

Since they started is the government displaying any seriousness to address their plight? Protest is fundamental right of every citizen. The attitude of obstructing peaceful protests by the Nigeria government over the years has actually led us to this mess we are in today.

In advanced democracies, protests serve as a means where government know their lapses in governance, and sit up to do what is needed. But here, they want to silence everybody, so they can continue their selfishness.

It is unfortunate that the security agencies that supposed to protect the lives and property of citizens are now the agents of the ruling class who destroy the lives of Innocent Nigerians. Look at what Nigerian Soldiers did to protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos, shooting at them as if they are criminals.

 

BOUDRIN ALABI: It is unfair to ban street protests. I don't know why the leaders of this country always misdirect what the law demands? They deliberately disobey it and apply all sorts of wrong approaches.

Government created all the problems we currently have. The #EndSARS protests have been on since 2017. In 2017, they promised to dissolve it, because of the widespread reported cases of brutality meted to Innocent Nigerians by SARS. Since then, nothing has been done.

For me, this is a national struggle to liberate all Nigerians. It is unfortunate that politics, ethnicity, and religion are linked to the ongoing protest. This is where we always fail, while pursuing our collective interest. These politicians feast on our ignorance, and use it to mock us. This is not about religion, or ethnicity. We must come together and say no to bad governance, irrespective of our religion, ethnic and political differences.

The Apo incident where hoodlums burnt down cars and destroyed properties was uncalled for. Eye witness confirmed to me that security agents were there and could not make any effort to prevent the miscreants from vandalizing the vehicles. Is there any sense of responsibility in this act?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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