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Bakare warns against clampdown on #ENDSARS campaigners by government

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TUNDE Bakare, the founder of the Citadel Global Community Church which was formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, has warned against recent moves by agents of the federal government to clampdown on campaigners of the just concluded #ENDSARS protest in the country.

According to Punch, the cleric who gave the warning during the church’s Sunday service in Lagos, called on the government to ensure its plans and policies are well thought out before they are implemented to forestall the occurrence of another civil disobedience in the country.

While condemning the recent action of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in freezing bank accounts owned by some of the protesters through a court order, Bakare said the laws of the nation should not be employed to repress citizens who were merely exercising their constitutional rights to protest against the inactions of government.

“This season of our national life requires deep humility, sobriety, and deliberate thinking through, both by the government and the governed, to ensure that our plans, policies, and actions are weighed before they are implemented to avert the re-occurrence of our most recent crisis,” he said.

“Some of the actions recently taken by the government on the heels of the #EndSARS protests may need to be reversed sooner rather than later in our collective best interest so that they do not trigger further protests.

“Among such policy actions is the freezing of the accounts of young Nigerians who reportedly sponsored the protests. While I admit that, under our extant laws, banks may freeze an account upon an ex parte order granted to a law enforcement agency by a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of an investigation, these provisions of our Law should not be used to intimidate Nigerian youth simply because they engaged in and promoted protests against the inactions of government.

“Targeting and arresting citizens on trumped-up charges, deploying court probes as a tool of intimidation, and generally eroding our fragile peace, are deeply worrisome signs of regression.”

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He noted that to extend the olive branch to the youths in one breath, and to deprive the youths of the right to freedom of movement and property as enshrined in the constitution in another breath, will send confusing signals and cast doubts in their minds regarding the sincerity of the government.

He, therefore, called for “the immediate reversal of these actions, therefore, will calm raw nerves and fast-track peace in our land. And if there are serious or fundamental security breaches that necessitated the freezing of bank accounts and the confiscation of a passport, these should be made known. In the absence of any security breaches, citizens’ rights should never be trampled upon.”

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, had said in a recent television appearance on Channels television that those who allowed the recent #EndSARS protests to degenerate into riots and violence leading to the destruction of properties in the country and loss of lives must be made to account for their actions.

He also asked politicians in the opposition party who endorsed and supported the protest should publicly denounce the violence that erupted the protest.

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