A group, the Concerned Professionals, on Wednesday accused the Federal Government of dictatorship and a betrayal of trust by harassing #EndSARS protesters rather than addressing the issues raised by the youths.
The group warned the government against forcing the youths into exile because they demanded good governance, saying intimidation will only increase tension in the polity and scare away foreign investors.
In a statement by Dr Muiz Banire (SAN), Dr Isuwa Dogo, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Olutola Mobolurin and Prof. Pat Utomi, the Concerned Professionals said it was “unfortunate” that the Federal Government has embarked on a “witch-hunt” and “victimisation” of the #EndSARS protesters.
The statement reads in part: “It is unfortunate that rather than developing trust in the youths that their complaints would be convincingly addressed as promised when the protests were on, the government has embarked on victimisation and witch-hunting of the sponsors of the protests by seizing their passports, arresting and detaining them sometimes with no or on spurious charges and freezing the accounts of the said sponsors.
“Sadly, the government that is not trusted by the people, which led to the elongation of the protests, is behaving in a way that further undermines the people’s trust in government. There is clearly a betrayal of trust and breach of good faith in the negotiation with the #EndSARS youths.
“It is the promise to look into the complaints of the youths that made many people counsel an end to the protests. The recent approach of the government is a reinforcement of the lack of trust the youths have about the government from the onset.”
The group faulted the freezing of the #EndSARS promoters’ accounts for six months, saying the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lacked the right to obtain such order.
The statement added: “It is regrettable that some magistrates and judges are being used to deny citizens their fundamental rights of hearing and sanctioning illegality by denying bail for ordinarily bailable allegations and freezing orders of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by way of ex parte application to freeze the accounts of the leaders of the protesters for six whole months!
“It is certain that the CBN lacks the locus to trigger such a process in the context of these events. The courts are being manipulated by those who feel threatened by the awakening of the youths.
“We expect the judiciary to appreciate the issues involved in the cases before them and be part of the social re-engineering of the country by treating cases in a pragmatic manner.
“We have seen all this before and we know where it will take us. A dictatorship is obviously being slowly but obdurately”.