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Pardon EndSARS protesters in detention, they learnt how to protest from you, Shehu Sani tells Tinubu

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Pardon EndSARS protesters in detention, they learnt how to protest from you, Shehu Sani tells Tinubu

Shehu Sani, human rights activist and former Kaduna Central Senator, has urged President Bola Tinubu to release EndSARS protesters who are still being detained in various prisons in the country, as according to him, they are young Nigerians demanding for a better country.

Sani who spoke at a special dinner organised to mark Democracy Day at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja on Wednesday, said the protesters learned from President Bola Tinubu who is the father of protests in Nigeria.

The former lawmaker, in reference to the decision of the Tinubu administration to change the national anthem of the country, reminded the president that national anthem cannot unite the nation, but a nation is is United by ideals of freedom, equity and justice.

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Sani who paid tribute to some of the heroes of the June 12 struggle, emphasized that the democracy being enjoyed today was not a gift from the military, but won by struggle.

“A day like this will not be complete without appreciating the roles played by the likes of Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd), Chief Abraham Adesanya, Alani Akawu Basheroun, and the likes of Fred Enoh,” he said.

“Mr President, even though the governor of kaduna state removed me from the senate, I will always remember that he was one of those who stood for us when we were in prison. He was among those who kept the touch of freedom alive while many of us languished in the cell.

“Mr President I would like to draw your attention to this fact the national anthem cannot unite a nation; the national pledge cannot United nation, a constitution cannot unite a nation. A nation is united by the ideals of freedom; a nation is united by equity, fairness and justice.”

Noting that the democracy of today was not freely given, Sani said, “Many younger generation of today have not and couldn’t know the sacrifice we made to restore democracy in this country.

“It is important that will bring to the attention of those who were not here in those days of the struggle that this democracy was not a gift given to us by the military; it was not a lottery that we won. It was a product of struggle and sacrifice. There were people who went into exile like yourself the president and commander in chief of the armed forces, and the likes of Wole Soyinka. There were people who were sent to prison like us. We were supposed to spend the next 15 years of our lives in prison, but by the magnanimity of God we came out. There are many who were dead. This democracy was a product of struggle.

“The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) made sacrifices, the Nigerian media made sacrifices. NUPENG headed by Frank Kokori made sacrifices. The National Association of Nigerian Students made sacrifices. This democracy was a product of that struggle; it was a product of that commitment, and was a product of that determination.”

Sani who reminded the President that his economic reforms have brought hardship on millions of Nigerians, told him that he had a duty to succeed, otherwise people would conclude that even those who fought for democracy have nothing new to offer.

“Mr President you have a duty to succeed. If you succeed, we will share in your glory because you came from the trenches; you came from that struggle. Mr President if you fail, they will say that those of you who fought for democracy have nothing new to offer to Nigeria. We will pray for you and we believe that the reforms which you have undertaken – and there’s no doubt about it, you too have recognized the untold hardship and the suffering it has inflicted on millions of people – will at the end of the day bear a fruit and people will rejoice of that the reforms were something that was worth all this trouble.”

On the detention of EndSARS protesters, Sani said it was important that those still detained are freed, while also calling on Tinubu to do something about the prisons because they hosted many of the pro democracy activists.

“Mr President, thank you for the honor and privilege and do something about the Nigerian prisons because they were the ones who hosted us in those dark days of the struggle,” he said.

“Mr President there are some people who are still in detention as a result of the EndSARS protest. They are young people who were protesting for justice, for freedom and for democracy. Any young protester in Nigeria today learnt from you because you are the father of protest in Nigeria. Do something about it; give them the freedom. You funded us to stand up and fight for our right. They are your children and your grandchildren give them the pardon.”

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