A former lawmaker, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, has urged the Federal Government to begin the process of police reform to douse the ongoing nationwide protests against police brutality by Nigerian youths.
Ohuabunwa, who represented Abia North in the Eighth Senate, made the call in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on Saturday.
He said that police reform would help restore public confidence in the police force.
Ohuabunwa also advised the Federal Government to enter into serious negotiation with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in order to find a lasting solution to the seven-month-old industrial dispute by the union.
He feared that the two knotty issues could snowball into a monstrous national crisis, if not properly addressed.
He said: “Government should act fast and responsibly to end the agitations. It should take cogent steps to yield to the yearnings of the protesters.
“It is a bad omen for any government to allow aggrieved youths to continue to protest on the streets for days.
“Recall that the Arab Spring, which brought down autocratic regimes in some Arab nations, began this way with aggrieved youths.”
Ohuabunwa described the #EndSARS protests as a spontaneous response to police brutality, which had lingered for many years unchecked.
He expressed concern that there was a nexus between the EndSARS protests and ASUU strike, saying that idle undergraduates remained ready and willing tools for anti-government protests.
Ohuabunwa noted that resolving the Federal Government-ASUU impasse would help to take the youths off the streets and back to classrooms.
He said that the lingering ASUU strike would have negative impact on the nation’s education sector and future of the youths.
“The Federal Government should address ASUU’s demands because lecturers are making tremendous contribution to nation building,” Ohuabunwa said.
He warned anti-riot police personnel against the use of force in dealing with protesters, saying that “citizens have the right to peaceful protest as guaranteed in the constitution”.
Ohuabunwa, who is a proponent of restructuring Nigeria, added that the current agitation by the nation’s youths underscored the need for the Federal Government to commence the nation’s restructuring without further delay.
According to him, the current developments in the country have heightened the agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria.