FCT minister bans #EndSARS in Abuja

FCT minister Muhammad Sani Bello

The FCT Security Committee of the Federal Capital Territory Administration has banned all street demonstrations, protests and processions in the territory, including the EndSARS protest which turned violent on Wednesday.

A statement on Thursday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister of FCT, Anthony Ogunleye, the decision to ban all street demonstrations was taken at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday.

Ogunleye stated that the ban has become necessary in view of the dangers posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

The security meeting, which was presided over by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, and attended by the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Olusade Adesola; heads of the various security agencies and military formations in the FCT, senior members of staff of the FCTA, representatives of religious and traditional institutions as well as Area Council Chairmen.

The Security Committee directed residents to go about their lawful businesses without fear of intimidation or harassment, reiterating its commitment to ensuring their safety.

The Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, had on Thursday morning confirmed the killing of his driver, Yohanna Shankuk, during the #EndSARS protest in Abuja.

Keyamo said his driver was caught in the crossfire between the #EndSARS protest and some hoodlums who attacked the procession at Berger Junction in Abuja.

The statement by the FCTA reads, “The FCT Security Committee met for its routine meeting on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, to review the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory with a view to addressing identified challenges.

“After extensive deliberations, the Committee came up with the following resolutions:

“i. The Committee noted with satisfaction the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Inspector-General of Police to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad {SARS} as well as other reforms aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Nigerian police.

“ii. It also noted that in response to the directive of the President and the yearnings of the Nigerian people, the Inspector General of Police has dissolved the SARS across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.

“iii. However, the Committee noted with concern that despite the pronouncement by the Inspector General of Police scrapping the FSARS, the #ENDSARS protests continued in parts of the Territory. The protesters caused inconveniences to law abiding citizens.

“iv. While the Committee recognizes the rights of citizens as regards freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it has observed that the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens.

The committee added that the continuous violations of safety protocols endanger the lives of not just the demonstrators, but also other citizens going about their legitimate concerns.

It affirmed that the COVID-19 guidelines regulating public gatherings in the FCT and the States recommend physical distancing, temperature checks, the use of facial coverings, amongst others.

“Clearly all these guidelines were flouted by the protesters,” the committee said.

On the EMBER months of October to December, it assured all residents and road users of its commitment to ensure their safety in accordance with existing guidelines by relevant agencies.

It advised all residents to obey all extant traffic rules and regulations while travelling during this period.

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