Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has called on protesting Nigerian Youths to protest with their brains and heads intact, urging them not be confrontational, violent or mischievous about it.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who stated this at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral Awka on Sunday, agreed the protesters had rights to protest and that he had witnessed and heard about police brutality, extortion, and all manner of inhuman treatments meted on Nigerian Youths by some unscrupulous elements working as the now scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, operatives.
“Government at all levels should have a human face. Nigerians deserve a better country. All we are yearning for is good governance. Nigerians need to take over their country. Nigeria is not for few individuals. Masses are dying in droves. They have the right to protest about bad governance. We should be having a serious discussion with these protesting youths by now. Remember they are youths, full of energy and ready to risk their lives. Ignore them at your peril,” Bishop Ezeokafor admonished.
The Catholic prelate however said that since the Inspector General of Police had disbanded the SARS, the protesters should retreat and watch and see how the new outfit brought forward as SARS replacement would function or perform.
He noted, “It is sad that the youths are protesting. Something prompted it. Government should find a way to assuage them. You do not use force. Using force will send a wrong signal. SARS operatives have gone overboard. What we witness now is as a result of maltreatment and intimidation from security agencies. People are dying; people are suffering in the hands of those expected to protect them.
“SARS tried in a way to fight daredevil criminals and violent crimes but at some point they derailed. People have to come up and say no to intimidation, molestation, and harassment. I want the youths to protest with their heads intact,” Bishop Ezeokafor advised.