By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The United Nations has described the response by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to the demands by #EndSARS protesters as the fastest recorded across the world in recent time.
The world body also said the protests by Nigerian youths which lasted for weeks before it was hijacked by hoodlums was one of similar agitations across induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It said, however, that the Nigerian protests should be seen rather as lessons for the future on how to engage such issues.
Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed expressed this positions on Monday when She led a delegation of the global organization on a courtesy visit to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
She spoke to State House Correspondents after the meeting with Buhari and some officials of the Nigerian government.
Asked to state the position of the UN on Lekki shootings during the recent protests by young Nigerians, She said: “The UN stance is clear. Like the UN Secretary General had said in his speech, we believe everyone has a right to demonstrate peacefully for those issues they want to raise with their government. There is a social contract in place between the government and the people and it is important to have that freedom of speech provided it is done peacefully.
“”I think in the case where we heard that lives and property were lost, it was unfortunate and we believe that in addressing the demands that were made by young people, this is perhaps a lesson we can take into the future on how we engage in such issues.
“I have to say that there are lots of protests around this world that has been exacerbated by Covid because, Covid has left people out of work, left people hopeless because of the socio-economic impact. And in many of those protests, we have not seen governments turn around in response as quickly as this government did. So, the UN response to this is that, we must make sure that what happened in this protests we ‘re are able to address those issues, those gaps and begin the reform.
“In fact I will say the transformations that are needed to address many of these outstanding issues and for that which we need an engage youths, we need to engage government. I think what has been put in place are those building blocks and the support of the UN has been asked to make sure that those convenience can happen.
“And that we can build back trust and have confidence building measures in order to get to where we need to, where the social contract between government and the people is firm and trust worthy and is working for the benefits of the Nigerian people.”
Amina Mohammed said while the UN recognised the rights to protest, it was alarmed by the destruction that attended the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
“It was of course one that the Secretary General, we all were alarmed and of course support the country in trying to get back on track. Young people and their demands for social justice, governance are all legitimate ones and must be done peacefully. But we were all disturbed by the damage level, loss of lives and we continue to condole with those families who suffered those loses.” She said.