Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has said the Federal Government was being misled into prosecuting the promoters of #EndSARS protests,
adding that there was no connection between the youths calling for socio-economic reforms, including an end to police brutality, and the hoodlums that went on the rampage.
Rather, Falana accused the government of failing to provide security for the peaceful #EndSARS protesters, who were exercising their fundamental human rights, as required by law.
He also described the hoodlums that burned and looted as “products of the decadent and neo-liberal economic policy of the Federal Government.”
The Senior Advocate was reacting to the Presidency’s stance that the #EndSARS promoters must face the law.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, had said in a Channels TV programme, Politics Today, on Sunday night, that those who promoted the protest and allowed it degenerate into chaos must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
According to Shehu:
“This country has only one President and has only one constitution.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for his government. The buck stops at his table.
“We are a country governed by law. There is a constitution that states clearly, under Section 33, that clearly defines the rights of citizens to freely protest in a peaceful way.
“But where a peaceful protest turns into riot, violence and looting, there is a law and order duty to be performed.”
However, Falana pooh-poohed the Presidency’s claims, noting that “During the #EndSARS protests, the Federal Government conceded the fundamental right of Nigerian youths to protest peacefully.
‘’The protests were generally peaceful. Unfortunately, the police did not provide security for the protesters as required by the law. Hence, hoodlums took over the protests.
“By the way, the hoodlums are products of the decadent and neo-liberal economic policy of the Federal Government. There is no nexus between the #EndSARS protesters and the hoodlums.
“It is unfortunate that the government is being misled as usual. They should go ahead and charge the #EndSARS protesters in a criminal court if there is any scintilla of evidence indicting them.
“We have travelled through this dangerous route before to the detriment of national development,” Femi Falana added.