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Rep seeks dialogue, compensation for #ENDSARS victims

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By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

A member of the House of Representatives, Teejay Yusuf, has called for dialogue and as a way to resolve some of the issues raised by #ENDSARS protesters.

The lawmaker also called for payment of compensations for victims of police brutality in the country.

According to him, the best that can happen now is to pull back from the brink, have frank dialogue and demand the institution of lasting corrective measures that may become part of our constitutional reforms.

The lawmaker noted without effective dialogue and a timely resolution of the recent face-off that started as ‘ENDSARS’ protest, Nigeria’s political elites and protesting youth stand the risk of huge collective losses.

Yusuf, who is a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal constituency in the National Assembly, stated these in a statement on Friday.

Youths, since October 10, had been protesting alleged human rights violation abuses by members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit in the Nigeria Police Force.

The protests led to wide range of violence in some parts of the country leading to loss of lives and properties.

The lawmaker, while lamenting the loss of lives and criminal opportunism of hoodlums, stated that irrespective of political party affiliations and ethnic origin, the entire political class, youth and other stakeholders across the federation stand to lose a lot if normalcy is not speedily restored.

Yusuf, a former students’ activist, noted long years of official insensitivity, lack of effective response to loud complaints against SARS three years ago and persistent skepticism about government’s promises are among factors that caused the current face-off.

The statement reads: “If this crisis festers and becomes something else, no political elite should feel safe because not all would be able to escape the chaotic situation, even with private jets; if things worsen too dangerously, youth may get drafted into violent conflicts they never planned for and the old and the young as well as children, women and all stakeholders in Nigeria may face the worst time of our lives.

“Even the two World Wars ended at the negotiating table; the best that we can all do now is to pull back from the brink, have frank dialogue and demand the institution of lasting corrective measures that may become part of our constitutional reforms.

“Our youths do not trust government because the spate of panels and half-measures as reflected in ineffective official reactions to ASUU strikes that started around 1991 show that we prioritize the wrong things and for higher education, things got so bad that our children got more used to the idea of going to Ghana, Cotonou and other places for higher education.

“I am warning all of us because all over the world, revolutions begin with seemingly innocuous incidents but before anyone realizes it, things spiral out of hands; the French revolution began with mere complaints over the price of bread, the Arab spring was sparked off by one man’s self-immolation in in reaction to injustice.

“We must all be cautious too because revolutions always have extreme consequences, including positive and negative ones if things are not well managed, a revolution forces changes to happen but it swallows many in the population too.

“I still emphasize that brutal force or mean aggression can never win in the current situation and there must be proper explanations and compensations too.

“As it is, considering the massive destruction of properties and painful loss of innocent lives, it is absolutely necessary for government to ensure that justice is done where and where appropriate, as well as compensate victims.”

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