Home News Shehu Sani urges Tinubu to pardon imprisoned #EndSARS protesters, reform Nigerian prisons

Shehu Sani urges Tinubu to pardon imprisoned #EndSARS protesters, reform Nigerian prisons

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A former senator, Shehu Sani, has urged President Bola Tinubu to pardon the incarcerated EndSARS protesters.

Mr Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the Senate between 2015 and 2019, made the call on Wednesday night at a dinner organised to mark 2024 Democracy Day.

In October 2020, there was a mass protest against police brutality in Nigeria. The protesters, who were mainly youth demanded the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police Force.

The protests originated from a Twitter campaign in 2017, using the hashtag #EndSARS to demand the unit’s disbandment by the Nigerian government.

During that period, some state governments declared a curfew in their states to prevent a breakdown of law and order, while many protesters were arrested in different parts of the country.

Some of those arrested have been sentenced while others are still in custody for various categories of offences linked to the protests.

Mr Sani advised Mr Tinubu to pardon those who are still in detention as a result of the protest.

“And then, the last call, Mr President, there are some people who are still in detention as a result of the EndSARS protest. We were young people who were protesting for justice of freedom and for democracy. Any young protester in Nigeria today, learn from you because you were the father of protest in Nigeria. Do something about it, give them the freedom.

“You taught us, you funded us to stand up and fight. So, they are your children and your grandchildren, give them the pardon. Thank you and God bless,” he said.

Reformation of prisons

Mr Sani also urged President Tinubu to reform the Nigerian Correctional Centres.

“Mr President, thank you for the honour and the privilege and do something about the Nigerian prisons because they were the ones who hosted us in those days and in those dark days of the struggle,” he said.

Hardship

Mr Sani also noted that many of the economic reforms of President Tinubu have caused hardship to Nigerians.

He urged the president to ensure that Nigerians enjoy the sacrifices.

“Mr President, if you fail, they will say that those of you who fought for democracy have nothing new to offer Nigeria.

“We pray for you and we believed that the reforms which you have taken, there is no doubt about it, you too have recognised the untold hardship and the suffering it has inflicted on millions of people. But we are expecting that at end of the day it will bear fruit and people will rejoice and say that the sacrifices they have made, the consequences of that reforms were something that were worth all these struggle,” he added.

National anthem

He also submitted that the new national anthem will not unite the country if there is no equity and justice.

“Mr President, I would like to draw your attention to this fact and the truth. The national anthem cannot unite a nation. A national pledge cannot unite a nation. A constitution cannot unite a nation. A nation is united by the ideals of freedom. A nation is united by equity and by justice.

“Many younger generations of today have not and couldn’t know the sacrifice we have made to restore democracy to this country. It is important that we bring attention to those who were not here in those days of the struggle.

“This democracy was not a gift given to us by the military. It was not a lottery that we won , it was a product of struggle and sacrifice. There were people who were forced into exile like the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the likes of Wole Soyinka.

“The Academic Staff Union of Universities of Nigeria made sacrifices. Nigeria media made sacrifices, NUPENG headed by the likes of Frank Okori made sacrifices. The National Association of Nigerian Students made sacrifices. This democracy was a product of that struggle, was product of that commitment and was a product of that determination.

“Mr President, you have a duty to succeed. If you succeed, we will share your glory because you came from the trenches, you came from that struggle, you came from that period of struggle.”

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