Reps, security chiefs meet

 Tony Akowe, Abuja


THE leadership of the House of Representatives yesterday held a closed-door meeting with heads of security agencies on what it called the breach of national security by the recent #EndSARS protest.

The hitherto peaceful protest later turned violent as hoodlums hijacked it and caused mayhem and destruction across the country.

The House, at plenary on October 20, 2020, had set up an ad hoc committee under the chairmanship of Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase to be assisted by House Leader Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu.

Other members of the committee were drawn from security-related bodies in the House to meet with heads of security agencies in order to proffer solution to the development.

Wase said: “You may recall that on October 20, 2020, the House passed a motion on the need to address the breach of national security under the peaceful protest in the country in the guise of EndSARS.

“With that, the House set up a committee to be headed by myself, the two leaders of the House (Minority and Majority leaders), chairmen of all relevant committees in terms of security and three members from each of the committees.

“The essence of the committee is to …ensure that we have a harmonious nation. This is the essence of the committee. This is our first meeting and we are going to take input from the various services.

“This is a matter that concerns security. No nation discusses its security situation on camera. With this, I want to beg the press to kindly excuse us so that we can have a very robust discussion.”

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The committee was set up following a motion sponsored by Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) and seconded by Julius Pondi “on the urgent need to address the possible breach of national security in the national #EndSARS protest”.

Acknowledging the constitutional right of the protesters to air their grievances in a peaceful and law-abiding manner and the genuine reason for such grievances, the Deputy Speaker said the Federal Government had swiftly disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police, which was the reason for the protest.

He expressed concern that the legitimate protest of Nigerians was hijacked by hooligans who took advantage of the protest to unleash mayhem on innocent Nigerians.

Wase added that allowing the protest to linger would increase the rate of COVID-19 spread, hinder Nigerians from their right of free movement and degenerate into chaos.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an Executive Order to address police brutality.