Sen. Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress ( APC), says that the country must embrace
protests as part of its national growth in order for Nigeria to achieve parity with older and more developed democracies.
Tinubu said it was necessary to protest because
it gives greater depth to the government-governed relationship.
In a statement on Sunday, the national APC leader reaffirmed
his support for the people and their right to protest peacefully.
“The right to protest should be pacifically exercised and never abused; neither should it be feared nor unduly curtailed.
“The right to protest is more than integral to the democratic setting; it transcends any form of government.
“Because of my strong belief in the right to protest and my adherence to democratic ideals, I was among those who actively protested the annulment of the June 12 election.
“l eagerly joined and sometimes led multitudes who took to the streets to protest the singular injustice of that historic moment,’’ he said.
“We demanded foundation for the youth today to protest and to call to the fore their grievances whenever our social or political institutions fail them in a material way.
“Thus, I cannot not wax nostalgic about pro-democracy protests of the 1990s, yet castigate those who today protest against any form of institutionalized brutality.
“No democratically minded person can fault those who protests in this regard.
“No society, even the most democratic, is perfect.
“All nations suffer lapses that cause even their most respected institutions to fall short of their better ideals,’’ Tinubu said.
The imperfection of Nigeria, according to
him, does not deter change or reform.
He said that the nation must constantly test its institutions and government to reshape
Nigeria into a better country and to constantly change the way it treats its people.
“If we do not commit ourselves in this way, democracy may not long be ours,” he said
According to him, it is time to take the required legal steps to allow
the establishment of state police and the recruitment and training of many more police officers.
Such state-created forces should, he said, be focused on modern
concepts of community policing, optimum partnerships and collaboration with local communities.
Tinubu clarified that such steps are essential to cure existing deficiencies
in the care of the general population by military and law enforcement.
“We know there are criminal elements in society primed to harm people and seize property. We expect this of criminals.
“What is not expected is that people will be brutalized and scarred by those commissioned to protect and serve them.
“This anomaly must end,” Tinubu said.
The APC leader said that by distorting their helpful mission
to its opposite, some in the police had lost their way.
“Such gross malpractice by a tainted minority must stop so that the bulk of good police officers may do their job properly, with the support and thanks of a grateful community.
“It must stand as a maxim for any compassionate, sane society that innocent people should not die or be injured at the hands of law enforcement.
“Enough blood has been spilled; enough pain has been felt,” he said.