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Rawlings calls for non-violent engagement over unrest in Nigeria

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called for a non-violent engagement in solving all grievances relating to the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

According to him, all parties involved must act with integrity.

Some youth across Nigeria on October 8 began a peaceful protest against police brutality.

The protests started with a call to reform the Special Armed Robbery Squad (SARS) of Nigeria.

The police unit was formed to deal with robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and firearms.

The demands of the protestors are summarized into five points.

  1. Immediate release of all arrested protesters.
  2. Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
  3. Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days).
  4. In line with the new Police Act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed.
  5. Increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.

But things took the wrong turn when the Nigerian Army fired live ammunition into a group of unarmed protestors at Lekki toll booth on Tuesday, killing dozens and injuring several others.

The protesters in retaliation have set ablaze a number of police stations and government institutions.

Due to this, Mr. Rawlings has called for peaceful engagement from both citizens and the government of Nigeria to resolve the issue.

In a tweet, he said, “My heart goes out to Nigeria and Nigerians and I encourage all to move towards non-violent engagement.

“All conscientious citizens of Africa must condemn the bloodshed and call on all parties to act with integrity before the crisis gets out of control. We call for integrity and the circumspection of all personnel involved.”

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