The Peoples Democratic Party Youth Frontier has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the protest planned for June 12 by some groups against the state of affairs in the country to proceed seamlessly.
The PDP Youth Frontier made this known in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Usman Okai Austin (CNA).
The group also advised the government to avoid a repeat of the mistake it made at the #EndSARS protest at Lekki Tollgate last year in which some peaceful protesters were killed.
“It will be recalled that the violent approach by this administration in containing secessionist protest in the East contributed to the climate of violence in that part of the country today,” he said.
The group described democracy as the oil that helps the wheel of society to spin and as a fundamental right of the people of any democratic country.
“Democracy is the oil of the wheels of any civilised society. Democracy as a system of government is not perfect but regardless, it gives the citizens the avenue to either express their approval or vent their frustration with their government and its policies; and peaceful protest is one.
“The planned protest by some groups against the state of affairs in the country must be allowed to proceed seamlessly. It is the fundamental right of the people of any democratic country to protest against policies of government that they deem detrimental to their well-being.
“So far, the President Buhari-led administration has put the Nigerian calender back by his divisive rhetoric and by his legendary mismanagement of our economy. In this vein, what the Buhari government should do is to make sure peaceful protesters enjoy the umbrella of state security while the protesters on their part must make sure the protest does not degenerate into anarchy.”
The group said the international community would be watching Nigeria, emphasising that one cannot beat a child and expect the child not to cry.
“You can’t beat a child and expect the child not to cry – Buhari has beaten Nigerians more than enough and the least he owes Nigerians is to allow Nigerians to cry in the language they understand – peaceful protest.
“The eyes of the international community are on Nigeria. The democratic gains we have made must be consolidated, not thwarted in a mood of militant machismo by the Buhari administration. This administration’s North Korean style approach to governance must be condemned by all men of good reasoning and conscience. If the Lekki protest has taught us any valuable lesson, it would be that, it is dangerous for governments to militarise peaceful protests.”
The PDP Youth Frontier called on the administration of Buhari to ensure that the security agencies adhere to democratic best practices in managing the protest and must not thwart nor resort to violently dispersing the protesters.
It said rather, it must protect peaceful protesters.
“June 12 is an auspicious day in the annals of Nigeria history. Our brave and patriotic country men and women paid the ultimate price for the institutionalisation of an open society. The least the government of President Buhari owes the protesters is to ensure they exercise their constitutional right without fear of intimidation or arrest. Anything other than that will be a disrespect for the struggle of MKO Abiola and other pro-democracy activists who lost their life in the struggle for a democratic Nigeria,” the group added.