The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been urged to dialogue with leaders of #EndSARS, EndSWAT protest rocking different parts of the country.
A human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, gave the advice on Wednesday.
He said if Buhari’s administration could negotiate with terrorists, then it would not be out of place for the government to negotiate with patriots like the Nigerian youths protesting against police brutality and extra-judicial killings.
Falana spoke during an interview on Channels television programme, Politics Today.
He said, “The government must engage in dialogue with leaders of the protesting groups.
“After all, the government negotiates with terrorists so why don’t you negotiate with patriots like the young men and women that are protesting all over the country.”
According to the human rights lawyer, a dialogue accompanied by genuine steps to meet the demands of #EndSWAT protesters remained the best way the government could end the nationwide protests.
On what is expected of the government to end the protests, he said the government should make sure the protesters are protected.
He added, “There has to be a full-fledged inquiry that will support a judicial commission of inquiry not a judicial commission of inquiry that will seat in camera (private) like the Ayo Salami judicial commission of inquiry. This one will seat in the open like the Oputa Panel and they will investigate the atrocities, the outright killings.
“Finally, I’m calling on the state Attorneys-General because 98% of criminal offences in Nigeria are state offences. Let our Attorneys-General take over the prosecution of cases in Nigeria. Moreso, that the Police Act 2020 has prohibited policemen and women from prosecuting in our courts so, the state government will have to engage lawyers to take over the prosecution of cases in all our courts.
“If the government can put all this in place in the next three days, the young men and women can now be persuaded to leave the streets.”
The protesters had demanded for a police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), to be disbanded.
Although SARS had been disbanded and replaced with Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammmed Adamu, the protesters are skeptical and do not trust that the new SWAT will be different from SARS.
Hence, they are now protesting with the hashtag EndSWAT and demanding for a reformation of the Nigerian Police.