Nigerian youth made good their threat to hold memorial marches on Wednesday commemorating those who died during the nationwide anti-police brutality protests last year. This was despite warnings by the Nigeria Police that marches to mark the one year anniversary of the #EndSARs protest would not be condoned.
As the memorial rallies held in some states on Wednesday, the National Economic Council (NEC) directed state governors to forward final reports of the panels of inquiry into the protests to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of the indicted persons.
In Lagos State, youths gathered at the Lekki tollgate to mark the EndSARs anniversary. But the rally was marred by police brutality and clampdown on journalists covering the peaceful event.
In Abuja, security operatives acting on the order of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, pushed a procession to the National Assembly complex back.
But Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, inaugurated a Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in the state with an appeal for more citizen participation in peace and nation building.
In Rivers State, over 200 youths staged a candlelight procession at the popular Waterline junction in Port Harcourt.
Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, who revealed the decision of NEC in Abuja, during a media briefing, also accused those he labelled “champions of a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate,” including Amnesty International and CNN, of holding on to “their unproven stand.”
The federal government said where incidents in the inquests related to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC had urged the Nigeria Police to take disciplinary action against the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020.
Mohammed spoke on measures that had been taken to improve the efficiency of the police and other security agencies’ architecture.
He explained that NEC had called on the leadership of the security agencies to ensure that persons recruited into arms-bearing security organs underwent psychiatric evaluation and drug test before enlistment.
He also said personnel of the agencies had been advised to dutifully observe rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties.