Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of playing double standards in the handling of conflicts in different parts of the country.
The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) which is made up of prominent Nigerians from all walks of life made the accusation on Sunday, saying that whereas the Buhari administration could stoop low to negotiate with Boko Haram terrorists and other armed groups wrecking havoc on the populace, it could not tolerate unarmed youths who staged a peaceful protest against police brutality.
Speaking on behalf of the forum, its Chairman, Chief Solomon Asemota said that it was appalling that the Federal Government had to deploy soldiers to dislodge some peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza, Lagos.
He said that members of the Forum have reviewed the unfortunate incidents in recent days including the killing and maiming of the protesters by security personnel and have come to the inclusion that the issues were deeper than the government might want Nigerians to believe.
“The political imbalance in the country has produced nothing but sorrow, poverty, and death for Nigerians. The unjust and sectional political structure left behind by the British Colonialists is no longer sustainable. This is the time for the ethnic nationalities to sit together as the true owners of Nigeria and re-negotiate the country to prevent future calamities. The socio-cultural groups should commence
arrangements for such negotiation without waiting for Government to initiate it. Their
decisions should be handed over to their Legislators to implement.
“Government should take advantage of the protests rejecting Police brutality to
introduce State Police. This is the appropriate step under the circumstances to ensure adequate and effective security nationwide and henceforth localize any case of Police excesses to the States.
” The failure of government to declare State Police at this point should be interpreted to imply that a centrally controlled Police is desired by the Government in order to continue to provide state cover for marauding Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram.
“The structures should be put in place to ensure that state Governors do not solely appoint the State Police Commissioners neither would they have the power to unilaterally remove them so that the State Police can be free to work professionally,” the group said.