New Wave of Protests Hits North, as Lawyers Brace to Defend Protesters
A certain Coalition of Northern Groups has threatened to commence protests in all the 19 northern states of Nigeria today (Thursday the 10th of October, 2020) to agitate for a better security situation in the region.
Observers have however played down the possibility of a successful protest in the North, saying citizens in the region lack the character and resilience of their counterparts down South.
The group seems agitated by the successes of the #End SARS protesters and appears set for a northern version which it said was for a different purpose.
The group said it identified with the #EndSARS protesters and appreciated their successes, adding that the proscription of SARS and the creation of SWAT in its stead was appreciable.
It however said the north has different problems which the youth must also force the government to resolve.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, the spokesman of the coalition, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said they would mobilise hundreds of youths in the region to the streets until their demands are met.
According to him, “We observe that while the southern elected and appointed leaders and representatives are quick to identify with their people at the time of need, their counterparts from the North, including the President, the Senate President, Senators, Rep members, governors, state legislators and other government appointees would rather abandon the hundreds of thousands of people in northern communities exposed to crime, lawlessness and insecurity in the hands of bandits, insurgents, kidnappers, rapists, rustlers, and other violent criminals without any form of protection.
“We observe that it is contradictory that despite several protests and pleas by northerners, the authorities never deemed it fit to extend the swift spirit deployed against FSARS into securing the North, or addressing the myriad distresses faced by northerners.
“In the light of the foregone observations, the CNG is left with no option but to direct the extension of the protests to all northern states, commencing from Thursday, October 15, 2020”.
He said the coalition welcomed the scrapping of FSARS and its replacement with SWAT.
He flayed the recent agreement reached by the federal government and the organized labour on the electricity tariff and fuel price hikes.
He also said the youth would simultaneously protest against continuous closure of universities over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS)-related issues.
“We observe that the authorities appear bent on sustaining the harsh, unacceptable regime of exploitative hikes in electricity tariffs for which the north shall bear the brunt more than other parts of the country.
“We declare the agreement reached by labour with the government on new electricity tariff unacceptable and demand the immediate, unconditional reversal to the old rates,” Suleiman said.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of the reaction of the authorities to the planned protests, lawyers in the north are bracing for legal battle against any arrest of brutality by security operatives.
A Kano-based lawyer, Ibrahim Baba, has sent out a public notice to the protesters to indicate his readiness to render free legal service in the event of arrest as a result of the protest.
“Take note dear Kano protesters, am stationed awaiting your call if you get arrested, all for one, one for all. All we seek is a better Nigerian Police Force”, he posted on his Facebook page.
Other lawyers have equally told Nigerian Sketch that they are in touch with organisers of the protest, and are ready to render free legal services to them.