Prominent human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu has called on the Nigerian government to either allow citizens to protest peacefully or make a violent protest inevitable.
The fiery activist was reacting to reports from the media on insinuations that threats from the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the police forced #EndSARS protesters to retreat.
Promoters of the protests had earlier highlighted a second wave which has begun though subtly with pockets of protest reported in some state capitals, unmindful of the threats from the federal government and Police IG, Adamu.
Yesufu, appearing on a national TV, Tuesday said the present generation promoting the #EndSARS are not giving up and noted that while the Nigerian government may believe it’s winning “it’s not, and the earlier the government gives in to their demands, the better it will be for the nation”.
And continuing’ she said, “The #EndSARS protesters are still talking and it’s not the end. One of the things I will like the Nigerian government to understand is that it’s either you allow people to protest peacefully or they will protest violently.
“When we talk about protests, the peaceful protest is the one the #EndSARS protesters did, coming out because they believe in the government, they are asking the government to do the right thing.
“Those who are protesting violently are the ones who are out on the streets, banditry, thuggery, kidnapping and all of that, those are also protest against the system and it’s so sad that the Nigerian government prefers and panders to the people who protest violently, then they clamp down and attack and maim and kill people who protest peacefully.”
And when quizzed on the recent threat of President Buhari on violent protesters, “However, this must be done responsibly in accordance with the laws of the land. I also want to state that any act of hooliganism hiding behind the peaceful protests, will be highly dealt with decisively to ensure the peace and stability of our nation.”
Yesufu said: “I think it’s very disrespectful for people that we put in office to keep looking at us and telling us all sorts of things and then citizens are the ones that are supposed to be respectful to the people in office.
“If there’s anywhere where there is hooliganism going on, I think it’s at the Aso Villa and the president is the one presiding over that and we’ve had to feel the depth of that hooliganism and it’s very unfair for the president to look at protesters, people who are tired of what’s going on in the nation to say something like that. That’s not the kind of language the president should be using.
“He has consistently over the years since he was elected denigrated Nigerians both in and outside of the country and every time, he speaks it’s that tone he uses and it has to stop. The highest office of this nation is the office of the citizen.
“The office of the President is the highest political office in the land and we should always remember that we are not slaves to them, we put them there to serve us and that’s why they are called public servants.”
According to her, “we’ve not seen the end of #EndSARS protests as protests come in different forms and this generation are sick and tired of being hounded to death”.