The Senate on Tuesday observed a minute silence in honour of the late Jimoh Isiaka and others who lost their lives during the ongoing protest for the proscription of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, tagged #EndSARS Protest.
Jimoh Isiaka was one of the protesters who fell to police bullet in the ancient city of Ogbomosho last week.
The killing of Isiaka by an unidentified police officer during the EndSARs Protest in Oyo North senatorial district sparked an uprising in which the palace of Soun of Ogbomosho was vandalised.
Coming under Order 43, Personal Explanations and Public Importance, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, incidentally the Senator representing Oyo North senatorial district brought the unfortunate incident formally to the attention of his colleagues.
He noted “with grief the death of Jimoh Isiaka and several other promising Nigerian youths whose lives were cut short at their prime during the recent #EndSARS protest which started on 8th October 2020. ”
The lawmaker maintained that the right to peaceful assembly and free expression were fundamental principles of any democracy, and further argued that Section 40 of Nigerian Constitution (1999) guarantees the right of every Nigerian to peaceful protest. “Informed that under International Law, one of the duties of state and its law enforcement agencies is to facilitate the enjoyment of the right to peaceful protest, and the 1990 United Nations basic principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law enforcement officers provides that, in the disposal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officers shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum necessary. ”
ALSO READ: JUST IN: Renowned playwright, Professor John Pepper Clark, is dead
He expressed “with regret that the protest on #EndSARS snowballed into a confrontation between the security operatives and the protesting youths in some part of the country and even turned violent in Ogbomoso, Oyo State for instance, as Nigerian police were alleged to have injured seven protesters and shot dead a young man known as Jimoh Isiaka, a constituent of mine, during the protest.
He told his colleagues that following the death of the late Isiaka, irate youth the palace of the paramount ruler of the city, the Soun of Ogbomosoland was attacked by the protesters, several properties and vehicles were wantonly destroyed and many palace officials sustained injury.
Senator Buhari urged the Senate to prevail in the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to take more than passing interest in how security operatives handle the peaceful protest.
He submitted that “non-violent protests have been a feature of democracy, with demonstrators calling for a declaration or a cancellation or even expressing their displeasure at a particular decision of the government, so while preserving freedom of speech and legitimate protest is, of course, imperative, attention must be paid to how security operatives handle peaceful; protest with professionalism.
The Senate later passed a resolution to observe one-minute silence in honour of late Jimoh Isiaka and other Nigerian youths who lost their lives due to the unprofessionalism of some members of the Nigeria Police Force.