PAN Niger- Delta Forum PANDEF, has demanded a halt to acts of intimidation, harassment and physical assault by hired hoodlums and police officers of well-meaning young Nigerians peacefully indicating their frustrations over how the affairs of their country are being conducted. PANDEF, umbrella body of monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the coastal states of Niger-Delta, in a statement by the national chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd.) said the brutalization in various cities across the country, particularly Abuja and Benin City, Edo State, was condemnable.
It also deemed the nationwide “Operation Crocodile Smile” exercise announced by the Army as most provocative and another unnecessary misadventure. It is our well-considered stance that soldiers have no business trying to do “police” job and thus do not have to get involved in the peaceful and intellectual #EndSARS protests.
The statement read in part: “We further demand the commencement of unbiased investigations into these incidents to swiftly bring to book all those behind the criminal and undemocratic acts across the country. Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians, including the youths who are protesting to take back their rights as citizens of their fatherland.”
“We will not sit and continue to see our children being wantonly brutalized or killed. Enough is enough. PANDEF would like to warn those who think Nigeria belongs to them alone and therefore, others have no right to protest against democratic abnormalities and unconstitutional tendencies in the country, that it is no longer acceptable.
“If SARS, which virtually became a terror gang in some parts of the country is strangely being highly esteemed in another part to the extent that they are calling for its retention, then there is a fundamental problem in the present structural architecture of Nigeria.
“We had expected that President Muhammadu Buhari should have addressed these young people openly with a fatherly countenance to assuage their justified anger, instead of the deployment of the military and police against them and the tactless enabling of hired armed thugs to unleash terror on the peaceful protesters,” the regional body added.