National Assembly calls for an end to protests

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President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila speaking to the Press after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja.

President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan has commended President Muhamamdu Buhari for always listening to the demands of citizens of the country.

Lawan gave the commendation in Abuja on Sunday, in an interview with State house Correspondents, after he met with President Buhari, alongside the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Lawan, who acknowledged that the country is passing through a trying moment, assured Nigerian youths currently involved in EndSARS protests across the country, that the legislature is ready to contribute its own quota, as government works on implementing their demands.

He said: “This is certainly a trying moment for our country and the leadership of this country. As the National Assembly, we believe we have critical and crucial roles in ensuring that the current situation of protests across the country is brought to an end. It is also very critical at this point to mention this. Since the protests have taken place and the issues have been accepted, the time has come for the protests to stop because government needs to have sufficient time and conducive environment to implement the demands of the protesters.

“I want to thank the President for exhibiting his very deep democratic credentials. The protests have gone on for over 10 days, probably today is the 11th day across many states of the country.

“I think the protesters have expressed their legitimate rights, the government has listened and the essence of coming to meet Mr President is to review the situation and see the roles the two arms of government should play in ensuring that the five-point demands of the protesters are properly addressed.

“Where legislative intervention will be required, we are ready to move in and deal with such expeditiously to ensure that we do not waste any time, so that we address the concerns of our youths. Where the executive role is expected, we are sure that the executive will also expedite action and we will be watching to ensure that such demands are properly met.

The Senate President said if protests continue, the economy would be grounded and that will not be good for the development of the nation.

“We also need to have our economy to continue to go on. When you try to stop people from engaging in their lawful activities, closing roads to markets and other economy places, such will distract the country’s economy and that is not the best way to go.

“If the issues have not been accepted, then there would have been genuine reasons to continue with the protests but since the issues have been accepted, we should give government time to implement the issues.

“Therefore, I am seizing this opportunity to appeal to our youths who are protesting that the protests have already yielded the desired results. First of all, they said ‘end SARS.’ That was the beginning and SARS was scrapped, not by the IGP. SARS was scrapped by the President himself. The President made a presidential statement. And that was the first time a President will say end SARS and SARS has ended, he said.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was also part of the visit to President Buhari, described the Nigerian leader as the best democrat in the country.

He also appealed to Nigerians to exercise restraint as government looks into ways of implementing the demands of the protesters.

“We have met with the President and I can assure you that there is no bigger democrat than Mr President. He gave us a listening ear, the same that he always gives Nigerians.

“He accepted absolutely everything that Nigerians asked for. I have heard the stories that we have heard end SARS like four times before. That is what people are saying. Like I said, you have never heard it from Mr President, but now, he has said so. So, let us tarry a little while. Let us sit back. We have got what we want, let us sit back and see what happens. If you like, you begin your protests again if nothing happens in two weeks. But let us not continue this thing and lose the plot. That is what I don’t want. I don’t want our youths to lose the plot. They have done so well in terms of expressing their grievances and it is important we don’t get side-tracked,” the Speaker advised.

Gbajabiamila assured the youth that President Buhari is looking at all issues they have raised.

“Of course, there are tangential issues that they have discussed after the EndSARS. We have spoken with Mr President and he is looking at everything. Some of these things are policy matters that are not going to happen overnight. You are not going to have electricity overnight; it is not going to happen tomorrow. Free road is not going to happen tomorrow.

“It is a process and the important thing is that the government has heard you loud and clear. It is a continuous engagement. We will be engaging our youths in matters of policy and communicate with Mr President as well on what needs to be done.

“So, again, let us not lose the plot, let us remain focused. Points have been made like never before in the history of Nigeria and that is kudos to the young men and women out there,” he said.

Commenting on Saturday’s attack on the convoy of the Governor of Osun State, the Speaker condemned the act.

“As far as Osun State is concerned, it is unfortunate what happened to the state Governor. This is where I said we are beginning to lose the plot. Osun state Governor is loved by everybody in the state. He came to address people and that was what he got. At that point, we begin to wonder what exactly do we want? Is there an unseen hand? I don’t think there is an unseen hand. This is a movement. We should not allow people to infiltrate what otherwise is a good course.

“My advice is that even if there is trust deficiency, let us, for whatever it is worth, trust government for what it has done now. It has ended SARS, nobody can argue that. SARS is ended completely, never to be heard anybody. We talking about SWAT now.

“We interrogated the IGP about three days ago and we asked the question and he explained to us that in any security agency, particularly the police, if there is a special unit and you disband it, you don’t leave a vacuum. It is apparently a police code anywhere in the world that you don’t leave a vacuum, it has to be filled and that was why he came up with SWAT,” he said.

Nnenna.O

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