EndSARS: CONCERNED EMINENT NIGERIANS CONDEMN ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE PROTESTING YOUTHS ALONG ETHNIC/RELIGIOUS LINES, URGE ALL NIGERIANS TO SUPPORT YOUTHS` DEMANDS, MAKE OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

EndSARS: CONCERNED EMINENT NIGERIANS CONDEMN ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE PROTESTING YOUTHS ALONG ETHNIC/RELIGIOUS LINES, URGE ALL NIGERIANS TO SUPPORT YOUTHS` DEMANDS, MAKE OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

Some Nigerians under the aegis of “Concerned Nigerians” have lent their support to the ongoing peaceful #EndSARS protests by the Nigerian Youth, calling on Nigerian leaders to listen to the demands of the youth. In a statement dated 22 October 2020, and signed by 41 representatives of the group, the group declared that the #EndSARS protests are against “against widespread police brutality, endemic corruption, and bad governance.” They condemned the deadly attack on peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos on 20 October 2020, and called on governments to ensure that perpetrators of that dastardly act are brought to book, adding that Government`s response to the protests have been “slow, unconvincing, and half-hearted.” 

Condemning also what they described as “a premeditated violent crackdown on the protestors thereby significantly escalating the volatile situation,” the statement denounced reported attempts by“agents of government or other affiliated political actors to break the legitimate protests by the youth through sponsoring or promoting thugs to attack the protestors and damage properties which were then attributed to the youth protestors.” The statement then added that “Some evidence also suggests that there are attempts to delegitimize the protests by seeking to divide and rule the youth through ethnic and religious manipulation. This makes the situation very dangerous for the country.”

The statement called on President Buhari to accede to the demands of the youths aby taking “immediate urgent steps to address the widening trust deficit between Government and the President on the one hand, and the Nigerian youth and its people on the other.”  

Other demands made by the group include: 

“1…. (a) Identifying and arresting immediately the persons that gave instruction for soldiers to shoot protesting youth at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20th October 2020;  (b). Institute an urgent independent inquiry on: (i) the events at Lekki toll gate leading to the use of live ammunitions on the protestors and (ii) the apparent use of sponsored thugs or hoodlums by security operatives to infiltrate and break the peaceful protests. All those identified to be responsible for this must be held to account and prosecuted; (c). Take immediate remedial action as spelt out in the youth Charter of Demands (which they term 5For5 Demands) including the immediate release of all arrested protestors, justice and compensation for the families of victims, and an independent body to oversee the prosecution of guilty officers; (d). Address the Nation with concrete plan of implementation of the modalities and timelines for police reform; (e). Respond positively to the consensus opinion that the heads of the security agencies have performed poorly and should be relieved of office; (f). Announce urgent steps to address perennial insecurity and killings in the country particularly in the North-East and North-West; (g). Finally, develop a clear workplan for the implementation of the governance reform programmes for which well meaning Nigerians have been demanding.”

In conclusion, the statement continued thus:

“We commend our youth who have been courageous and patriotic in their demands for the protection of their rights and for a better 5 Nigeria. We urge that all Nigerians support these demands which have been without any ethnic or religious coloration. 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 speedy resolution of the crisis. 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.”

The statement was signed by the following Nigerian statesmen and women:

1. Dr. Olisa Agbakoba OON, SAN; 2. Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim; 3. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka; 4. Prof. Attahiru Muhammadu Jega OFR; 5. Funke Adekoya, SAN; 6. Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo; 7. Mr. Femi Falana SAN; 8. Rev Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi SAN; 9. Prof. Auwalu H. Yadudu; 10. Mal. Yusuf Ali SAN; 11.Dr. Chris Kwaja; 12.Mr. Chino Edmund Obiagwu SAN; 13.Father George Ehusani; 14.Mr. John Odah;15.Prof. Mohammed Tabiu, SAN; 16.Mal. Kabiru Yusuf; 17.Cmrd. Salisu Nuhu Mohammed; 18.Mr. Ledum Mitee; 19.Ms Ngozi Iwere; 20.Ene Obi; 21.Ms Amina Salisu; 22.Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; 23.Dayo Olayide; 24.Danlami Nmodu; 25.Mallam Hamza Ibrahim; 26.Prof. Ukachukwu A. Awuzie; 27.Dr, Peter Ozo-Eson; 28.Dr. Dipo Fashina; 29.Dr. Udo Jude; 30.Ms Idayat Hassan; 31.Abubakar Sokoto Mohammed; 32.Prpf. G.G. Darah; 33.Prof. Adele Jinadu; 34.Prof. Rufai Alkali; 35.Hon. Rima Shawulu; 36.Dr. Innocent Chukwuma; 37.Dr. Kole Shettima; 38. Adeyemi Candide-Johnson SAN; 39.Mal. Y.Z. Yau; 40.Prof. Pat Utomi; 41.A. B. Mahmoud, OON, SAN

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