Latter Rain Assembly’s Pastor Tunde Bakare has urged the Muhammadu Buhari government to listen to the people and act in the best interest of Nigerians.
Bakare’s call followed continued protests over wanton police brutality in the country.
Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a former police unit notorious for armed robbery, bribery, extortion and extrajudicial killings, triggered widespread protests after they allegedly killed a young man in Delta State on October 3.
The demonstrations forced the government to disband SARS but protesters, citing previous ineffective bans on the unit, refuse to leave the streets. They now call for comprehensive police reform under the hashtag #EndSARS. Pastor Barake, an ally of President Buhari, said the movement is “a wholesome rejection of the barrage of needless frustrations and degradations that defines the Nigerian experience”.
“There is a threshold of decency below which no human being must fall,” he said in a video he shared online.
WATCH: Pastor Tunde Bakare backs EndSARS protests
The government has since announced that a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) unit would fill the security void left by SARS. But Nigerians responded by calling for #EndSWAT.
Adding his voice to the conversation, Bakare said “you cannot police a people without their cooperation and you cannot obtain the cooperation of the people for a tactical unit they no longer trust”.
“We (Latter Rain Assembly) reject any status quo where citizens become disposable or the right to life becomes negotiable,” the pastor said in a veiled reference to the government’s initial tactic of allowing armed police to arrest, shoot and kill peaceful protesters.
While applauding the “resilience of protesters”, Bakare said the Buhari government must arrest and prosecute any police officer or official, no matter how highly-placed, who is seen violating the rights of Nigerians.
“If that is not done, then the Nigerian government has failed the people,” the pastor said.
Bakare is not the only Nigerian pastor to throw his weight behind the protests. The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye has done so too.
DayStar founder Pastor Sam Adeyemi has also urged the government to listen to the protesters most of whom are young people.