Northern Leaders condemn #ENDSARS protests, call for social media control

Northern leaders, including state governors and traditional rulers, have condemned the #EndSARS protests.

Their positions on the protests were contained in a communiqué issued after their meeting in Kaduna on Monday read by the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong.

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In the communiqué, the northern leaders, who alleged that separatists hijacked the #EndSARS protests, said the demonstrators were targeting regime change.

Youths calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force began protests on October 8 across major cities and lasted for two weeks until it took a violent turn with the protests hijacked in most locations across the country by hoodlums.

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Northern leaders however dismissed the protests as subversive, adding that they had a separatist agenda.

Reading the communiqué issued by the northern leaders, Lalong stated, “The meeting rejects and condemns the subversive actions of the #EndSARS protests. The agitations and other change-regime actions outside the ballot box soon took advantage of the peaceful protests to push for their separatist agenda. The meeting endorses the indivisibility, indissolubility and oneness of the nation.”

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Lalong said the leaders appreciated the role of the traditional rulers in curtailing the #EndSARS protests from escalating in the North.

The Plateau State governor disclosed that the meeting noted the devastating effect of the uncontrolled social media in spreading fake news and called for major control mechanism and censorship of the social media practice in Nigeria.

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He said the meeting emphasised the need to closely watch the Federal Capital Territory to “guard against unwarranted and destructive protests to safeguard critical assets of the nation.

“The meeting resolved that there is the need for regular meetings of this nature,” and called for further engagements with religious leaders, business community, youth leaders and other stakeholders.

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According to him, the meeting approved the setting up of two major committees: the committee on roles of traditional rulers membership and the committee on the youth and civil society

He said the meeting called for collective effort in addressing the lingering challenges of the North, especially Almajirinci system, insecurity, illiteracy and poverty.

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Lalong said the meeting appreciated the President, Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet for “their quick intervention in meeting the demands of the #EndSARS protesters.”

He also said, “the forum also appreciated the role of the youth for their response to the #EndSARS, in curtailing the spread of hooliganism, thuggery and other separatist tendencies.”

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Earlier, while welcoming his colleagues to the meeting, El-Rufai said it was high time Nigeria considered the establishment of state police, following the #EndSARS protests which rocked parts of the country.

Specifically, the governor said the recent happenings in the country provided an opportunity to redesign the security architecture between the states and the Federal Government.

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Also present from the meeting were the Sultan of Sokoto, Chief of Staff to the president, the president of the senate and the inspector general of police.

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