Policy, Research and Influencing Manager at Plan International Nigeria, Tunde Aremu, has rubbished a report linking him with an ‘unknown coalition’ of anti-EndSARS protest in Nigeria.
An online news platform had reported on 02 November that a group of 108 unknown non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) had urged Nigerian youths to discontinue their protests.
Development Diaries observed that the report did not mention the NGOs and CSOs that make up the said coalition.
Aremu, according to the report, is the national coordinator of the said group, while Barr. Chimbuchi Akuabata is its national secretary.
The said coalition reportedly condemned the attempt to reignite the #EndSARS movement in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
‘We advise those who are uncomfortable with the president [Muhamamdu Buhari] and his administration to wait until 2023 to use their [voter] cards in removing him democratically through numerical strength’, the online platform quoted the coalition as saying.
However, in a Facebook post, Aremu says he has nothing to do with such an association as he emphasised his position on the right of citizens to protest.
‘My attention has just been called to a statement issued by some state apologists and published by an online publication which claims that a Tunde Aremu is their coordinator’, Aremu noted in the Facebook post.
‘This is to state that I am not aware of such unknown coalition of equally unknown NGOs. I am currently out of Abuja and [could not] have been at the force headquarters in Abuja.
‘My position on the inalienable right of citizens for freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom for self-expression and right to protest remain unchanged.
‘I find the position of the so called coalition of NGOs antithetical to the principles of rights of expression and fundamental rights of citizens to freedom of association.
‘I hereby state that I have nothing to do with such an association which act I find odious’.
Protests, with hashtag #EndSARS, were triggered by the killing of a young man by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Lagos on 03 October.
The police unit, which has been disbanded by the Nigerian government, had long been accused of harassment, unlawful arrests, torture and killings.
Source: Tunde Aremu
Photo source: Tunde Aremu