As activists and youth groups prepare for a protest to mark the first anniversary of last year’s #ENDSARS protest, the National Economic Council comprising of the federal and state governments strongly advised against the anniversary protest, saying the federal and state governments would pay compensation to the victims of last year’s protest and prosecute the indicted officers.
NEC said this in a State House statement titled: ‘NEC: States, FG to pay compensation to victims of ENDSARS protests & prosecute those indicted’.
In light of the promises made, the council “strongly advises against planned protests, considering [the] security situation”, the statement read. It also urged the protesters to consider other options to air their grievances.
Activists and groups have in the past few days been publicising an #ENDSARS protest to mark the first anniversary of last year’s protest which shook the country and gained worldwide attention.
The youth-organised protest was to express grievance against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police for its alleged lawlessness and human rights violations. The squad was disbanded by President Muhammadu Buhari after pressure from protesters.
The protest however turned deadly on the night of 20 October 2020 as soldiers allegedly killed and injured several protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, the epicentre of the protest.
To mark the day of the deadly shooting now dubbed the ‘Lekki Massacre’, activists across the country are planning to embark on an anniversary #ENDSARS protest on 20 October 2021.
But NEC said there was no need to do so as the youths’ grievances had been addressed.
The statement read in part, “In receipt of reports from judicial panels regarding EndSARS protests set up in 28 states across the country and in the FCT [Federal Capital Territory], the National Economic Council has resolved that [the] payment of compensation to victims should proceed with each state, in collaboration with the Federal Government, establishing the modalities for the settlement of all monetary compensations awarded by the panels.
“Equally, NEC, which is composed of all state governors in the federation and representatives of the FG, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, also unanimously resolved today to ensure the prosecution of persons indicted by the panels.”
The statement said the “council specifically directed states to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their attorneys general for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons”.
“Where incidents in the reports relate to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC urged the Nigeria Police Force to take disciplinary action on the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020”, NEC stated.
“Also rising from today’s NEC meeting, members strongly advised those planning protests to mark the anniversary of the ENDSARS to reconsider the option in view of [the] current security situation across the country and the possibility of such protests being hijacked by armed hoodlums and other opportunistic criminals to cause mayhem at such protest events and venues,” the council said.