Francis Nwapa, national secretary of Youth Rights Campaign (YRC), has asked youth representatives to withdraw from judicial panels of inquiry set up across the country.
Following the dissolution of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS), the federal government had directed states to set up judicial panels of inquiry to investigate cases of police brutality.
Addressing journalists at the International Press Centre in Ogba, Lagos state, Nwapa said the youth should not participate in the panels as a way of protesting the “illegal arrests” of #EndSARS protesters.
According to him, the federal and state governments have not shown commitment to investigating incidents of attacks by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests.
“Events of the past few days have shown that, not satisfied with drowning the #EndSARS protesters in blood, the state is equally interested in distorting the real aims of #EndSARS protest. They are trying to use the widespread destruction and arson which broke out after the protest to achieve this,” he said.
“For the most part, the #EndSARS protest was peaceful, neither was it hijacked by thugs. In the major areas of convergence of the protests in Lagos and Abuja, the protest had a carnival atmosphere with protesters mostly holding flags and dancing to DJ’s music.
“The first time thugs had any role to play in any of these key areas of convergence was when they were sponsored by the state against protesters. Armed with dangerous weapons, they struck simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja on 14th October, 2020 .
“So, when the states shed crocodile tears today about the arson and destruction allegedly wreaked by thugs across some cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Calabar, Osogbo and other states in the aftermath of October 20, 2020, we want to quickly remind them that #EndSARS protesters were the first victims of riot, destruction and arson.
“Till today, the same police and military, which were able to arrest 520 alleged rioters in Lagos, have not managed to arrest any of the thugs who carried out these horrendous attacks on protesters in Abuja and Lagos during the protests despite ample evidence available.
“Recent events seem to question government’s sincerity in meeting #EndSARS campaign demands and the panel of investigation is limited to terms of reference by the same government and its institution it hopes to investigate and which has not own up.
“Representatives of youth and civil society on the panel should take leave leave of the panel in protest.”
He, however, called for an independent investigation into police brutality.