A group of concerned Nigerians who described themselves as non-partisan actors who believe in the union of Nigerians have called for urgent steps to be taken to prevent exacerbating ethnic and religious divides, anarchy, and the chances of a potential war between security agencies and the Nigerian youth.
In the statement seen by BellaNaija, the group condemned “the developments of the last weeks which culminated in a deadly attack on peaceful protestors, which from available evidence appears to be by agents of our government on 20th October 2020 present one of the most serious crisis in our nation’s history”.
No Nation can survive a war between its security agencies and its youth, and it is to avert this prospect that we make this intervention and recommend the following urgent action.
Having carefully observed the events that gripped Nigeria in the past days and weeks due to the recent protests by Nigerians across the country and the world, against bad governance, widespread police brutality, and corruption, the group recommended four urgent steps:
To President Muhammadu Buhari
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate urgent steps to address the widening trust deficit between the Government and the President on the one hand, and the Nigerian youth and its people on the other. To move forward, the President must take decisive action to close the trust deficit by:
Identifying and arresting immediately the persons that instructed for soldiers to shoot protesting youth at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20th October 2020.
Institute an urgent independent inquiry on the events at Lekki toll gate leading to the use of live ammunition on the protestors and the apparent use of sponsored thugs or hoodlums by security operatives to infiltrate and break the peaceful protests.
Take immediate remedial action as spelt out in the youth Charter of Demands (which they term 5For5 Demands).
Address the Nation with a concrete plan of implementation of the modalities and timelines for police reform.
Respond positively to the consensus opinion that the heads of the security agencies have performed poorly and should be relieved of office.
Announce urgent steps to address perennial insecurity and killings in the country particularly in the North-East and North-West.
Finally, develop a clear work plan for the implementation of the governance reform programmes for which well-meaning Nigerians have been demanding
To the Youth
We commend our youth who have been courageous and patriotic in their demands for the protection of their rights and for a better Nigeria. We urge that all Nigerians support these demands which have been without any ethnic or religious coloration.
The law-abiding Protesters
We urge the protestors to remain law-abiding and patriotic and not to engage in any intimidation or harassment of ordinary citizens or engage in any form of violence. We appeal to parties and stakeholders to work for the speedy resolution of the crisis.
On avoidance of violent demonstration
We strongly condemn the wanton destruction of properties, killings and maiming of innocent citizens and ethnicization by rioters and hoodlums trying to ignite a religious or ethnic conflict and call on ALL Nigerians to remain calm and avoid retaliation or taking the law into their hands.
According to the statement, these aforementioned steps, after its urgent execution and careful observation, will “halt our descent into a further breakdown of law and order”.
You can read the full statement here: