Protesting Nigerian adults and youths have expressed disappointment over a pronouncement made by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asking security operatives to chase them away from gaining access into the National Assembly during the #EndSARS Memorial protest in Abuja.
SaharaReporters learnt that Gbajabiamila put a phone call to the Federal Capital Territory Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operation, Ben Igweh, who led the combined security operatives and flushed the protesters out of the National Assembly.
A human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, who also participated in the protest, described the action of the Speaker as worrisome and unfortunate adding that Nigerians had an inalienable right to protest against bad policies of the government.
He said, “The Speaker occupied a sensitive position in this country. That Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila could ask that police officers should stop us from getting to the National Assembly is disappointing. We want to say this; this is huge disappointment on his part and there is need for him to apologise to the Nigerian people. Nigerians are protesting peacefully.
“The Speaker called DCP Ben Igweh in our presence and he said, flush them away. We are going to hold Mr Speaker accountable for this beyond this administration. Femi Gbajabiamila will give explanation for this nonsense.”
Recall that after October 20, 2020, the date of a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate, the epicentre of the demonstrations.
#EndSARS was first a campaign to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit, notorious for extortion, torture and extrajudicial killings.
After it snowballed into wider protests against bad governance, the authorities suspended the unit and promised reforms.
But the youths were sceptical and continued to protest until the Lekki shootings.
The memorial protest is taking place all over the state of the federation and other countries.