Police team keeping watch on protesters June 12
Members of the, The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus of the House of Representatives on Saturday June 12, called on the federal government to respect June 12 as the symbol of democratic freedom and the supremacy of the people’s power, and handed down to the Buhari administration, a four-point demand to move Nigeria away from the abyss of total destruction.
In a statement signed by the caucus leader, Hon Kingsley Chinda, the laid down steps that would help navigate Nigeria from an impending implosion and embrace peace while reminding the government to respect freedom of expression by lifting the suspension on Twitter.
The demands include to:
“Improve on our democratic practice by respecting the rule of law and press freedom, immediately reverse the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and set aside the draconian regulation of the media in our country.
“Place greater value on Nigerian lives and take decisive and pragmatic steps to end the avoidable carnages and deaths in our land by adopting mind-set change programs, (and)
“Restrain the Police and other security forces from further unleashing violence on unarmed youths and other peaceful protesters who choose to go out and exercise their rights in commemoration of this Democracy Day and on any other day they so desire, having led peaceful protest in the past”.
The PDP Caucus stated that June 12 should be viewed as opportunity to look back, acknowledge progress, honour heroes, correct errors and plan for a better nation.
“June 12 presents to our people another opportunity for introspection and to look back on the democratic journey of our nation, the road taken and not taken, and the sacrifices of citizens that make the day as historical as the memories that map both the journey and introspection. If the sacrifices of our people make the celebration of our nascent democracy worthwhile, it is because our people have come to cherish the blood, tears and toil of those whose sacrifices make the enjoyment of their rights and freedoms essential to democracy.
“June 12 is not only about introspection, it is about renewing the commitments of all to the growth of democracy in our dear county, Nigeria, as it is about ensuring that our country is never again enveloped by darkness, hemmed to the abyss by the sinister forces that threaten our collective rights and freedoms”.
It lamented that the country is facing grave threat new to its history.
“Never in our history have freedom become so threatened and endangered than now. Down the length and breadth of our country, people are not only being arrested and detained, they are denied the right to life guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. Homes have become mourning parlous. While parents are burying their children in a land that once held out the promises of life, sadness becomes the reality of life; our nation has suddenly been turned into a waste land of less hope and disillusionment.
“We have to walk the streets of our country to hear the tales of woes, lamentations, and dirges coming out of every home. A people that once regaled the world with their mirth, to the extent that the world recognized them as the happiest people on the face of the earth, have become shadows of themselves. Do we need to state the statistics of death, in order to establish the point, we make here? Those who were killed are not mere statistics; they had blood and water flowing in them, and they were our brothers and sisters, members of our bloodlines, whose death diminishes our humanity. Even where we cannot where name those killed by bandits and kidnappers in the North East, North West and other geopolitical regions of our country, those murdered by security operatives in the South east, South West and other regions, we respect their memories that will eternally remain collective blessings to a country in dire need of epiphany and redemption”.
The PDP representatives said the All Progressives Congress, APC has failed Nigerians even as President Buhari is giving himself credit for good leadership.
“June 12 represents hope but with their failed tripodal promises of security, economy and curbing corruption, the reality today is that APC has irredeemably failed the people of Nigeria.
“Never in the history of Nigeria has so much resources and efforts been devoted to monitoring citizens without corresponding result for security. All the sums spent for such purpose by various administrations since independence in 1960 pales into insignificance when compared with what the current APC administration has voted for monitoring/surveillance between 2015 and now, yet dangerous threat to lives and property persist. In their time, the APC appears to have fiercely facilitated the influx of foreign bandits who now wantonly kill and maim on rural farmlands across the federation, spreading sorrow and anguish on a daily basis.
“Sadly too, the APC administration’s warped management of Nigeria’s economy has given the current administration the inglorious distinction of being the only administration in Nigeria’s history to bring lead economy into two cycles of recession. Also unprecedented is the fact that about 75 percent of Nigerian youth are either unemployed or under-employed partly because Nigeria, under APC, has become a nightmare for foreign investors while inflation as well as the value of the Naira are witnessing extremely sad historical levels, whilst the President lays the blame on the Youths.
They called on all Nigerians to join hands to show APC the door in 2023 to pave way for restoration.
“Let us all resolve to restore the hope that June 12 represents by driving away the notorious plague of All Promises Cancelled(APC) through democratic means in 2023. It is the only way that we can restore prosperity and hope for current and future generations in Nigeria.
“The miserable existence of our people, evident in their hardships and sufferings, coupled with the ineptitude and inaction of the government, forms the trauma that daily confronts our country. As we mark another democracy day, on this 12 June 2021, we salute the resilience of our people, particularly the youths who will be out on the streets on this day defending democracy just as the President Buhari did in 2015 and our valiant citizens who have gone ahead and whose sacrifices are not in vain”.
They expressed sadness over the incessant waste of lives in the country by both state and non-state actors and urged government to apply an unconventional means to halt the insecurity in the country.
“It is regrettable that on the day we are celebrating the June 12 anniversary, no less than 93 people were reported to have been massacred by bandits in ZamfaraState. May their blood continue to water our tree of freedom and liberation from the hands of our oppressors!
“The war is not a conventional war, there is therefore need for an unconventional means of fighting same. There is dare need for a deliberate policy of the government to cause a mind-set change. The carrot and stick approach, meaningful alternatives, poverty reduction, basic amenities should be targeted and not threat of brute force as Nigerians are slaughtered daily even in the face of the threats.
Recall that the US government has gone into negotiation with Afghanistan despite the fact that the Talibans have killed more American soldiers in any warfare in history. What’s stopping Mr President from taking this noble step rather than issuing threats of,’teaching them in the language they will understand’. This cliché is now gaining grounds amongst Nigerians.
Moving forward, the caucus demanded:
“We hereby unequivocally call on President MuhammaduBuhari to as a matter of urgency:
1. Improve on our democratic practice by respecting the rule of law and press freedom, immediately reverse the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and set aside the draconian regulation of the media in our country.
2. Place greater value on Nigerian lives and take decisive and pragmatic steps to end the avoidable carnages and deaths in our land by adopting mind-set change programs.
3. Restrain the Police and other security forces from further unleashing violence on unarmed youths and other peaceful protesters who choose to go out and exercise their rights in commemoration of this Democracy Day and on any other day they so desire, having led peaceful protest in the past.
In the end, and with God on our side, we are confident of the ultimate victory for “the Victory of evil over good can only be temporary”.