The member Representing Oredo Federal Constituency, at the House of Representative in Abuja, Rt. Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, shares his thought on the ongoing #EndSars peaceful protest by Nigerian Youth. In a his Statement, made available to our political correspondence, the Hon. Member said:
The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy. Democracy is defeated when citizens are unable to take to the streets to express their frustrations with government, its policies or anything they feel concerned about.
I have particularly been inspired by the young people, who have in the last few weeks taken to the streets at great discomfort to themselves to make a statement with the #EndSars campaign that, while they have had enough of police brutality and the high-handedness of security agencies, they have also had enough of governance that has barely met their expectations.
No sincere person with a conscience will hear the horrid stories coming out of these protests about the atrocities of SARS and some other security agencies and not praise this agitation of our young people.
I support whole-heartedly the #EndSARS movement, which by extension is a demand for better governance. If the noble ideals that inspired this campaign are maintained, it can only turn out well for all of us. For us in government, who approached the people to elect us for service, it is for our own good that we are held to high standards as set by the people whose mandate we hold in trust. We won’t be in our present offices forever, and some day we will return to live as regular citizens in the society we have designed.
As we march forward in this struggle, I make two appeals to my fellow youth, especially the vibrant and conscious Oredo young people:
One, please PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR CRUSADE. It is important that history records this sacrifice you are making in the best and most patriotic light it deserves. Ensure that hoodlums and criminals don’t destroy this legacy you are creating. We must ensure that those who do not share our ideals with this struggle are not only prevented from having any impact or association with this movement, but are resisted, apprehended and handed over to security agencies should they attempt to show face. It was particularly sad for me and other decent Edo citizens to see our state in the news yesterday for such wrong news as jailbreaks on two maximum and medium security prisons, destruction of private and government properties, rape and robbery of innocent citizens, violence and harassment meted out on private citizens and government agents, among other disgraceful behaviours. I condemn totally these acts. This is not who we are, and we will not allow these deviants define us and our struggle.
Two, I plead that as we continue in the struggle, we LEAVE DOORS OPEN FOR NEGOTIATIONS AND CONCESSIONS. All ‘wars’ end on the table. Thankfully, the government has been quite receptive to the #EndSARS campaign, and have made efforts in acceding to the demands so far. I thank the Edo State government for setting up the Judicial Panel of Enquiry, and with the caliber of persons on the panel, I am confident some form of respite, restitution and closure will come for the several victims of police brutality. As we make our demands, let us remember other members of society who are sustained daily and have been impacted heavily by this campaign since it started. Let us remember our transporters who need to earn for their families, mothers who need to be in the markets, children who need to be in school especially after a long pandemic break, and several others who have been denied income due to this protest.
We must be strategic in our agitation to realize we need the support and goodwill of everyone and can’t afford to lose the empathy we enjoy presently from society. I ask that as the government makes efforts to meet these demands, that you give us time to run through the processes needed for sustainable and lasting reforms.
I thank the security agencies in Edo state who have conducted themselves professionally and with empathy during this campaign. They understand our young people are fighting this battle for us all and hopefully we will all be grateful for their efforts at the end.
A greater Nigeria that works is a possibility. It is already happening.
So much has happened since i wrote the above.
In the light of new occurrences that have taken place in the past few hours, I appeal to all responsible and law-abiding Oredo citizens to obey the government-imposed curfew.
It is important for the security agents to be able to differentiate legitimate protesters from criminal elements.
Please Stay safe.