A group of eminent personalities, under the aegis of Concerned Nigerians, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently stop the country from descending into chaos, following the wanton carnage in several states of the federation, characterised by the shooting of peaceful, young protesters at Lekki Toll gate in Lagos by soldiers on Tuesday night.
This is even as the South-West Caucus of the Senate yesterday identified with the demands of the #EndSARS protesters and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address them.
A statement by the 41 eminent members of the group, called on President Buhari to take immediate and urgent steps to address the trust problem between the government and the President on the one hand, and Nigerian youth and its people on the other.
The statement was signed by Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Bishop Matthew Kukah, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Funke Adekoya SAN, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi SAN, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, Mal. Yusuf Ali, SAN, Dr. Chris Kwaja, Mr. Chino , SAN, Father George Ehusani, Mr. John Odah, Prof. Mohammed Tabiu, SAN, Mal. Kabiru Yusuf, Salisu Mohammed, Mr. Ledum Mitee, Ms Ngozi Iwere and Ene Obi.
Others are Ms Amina Salisu, Dr. Hakeem Ahmed, Dayo Olayide, Danlami Nmodu, Mallam Hamza Ibrahim, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, Dr, Peter Ozo-Eson, Dr. Dipo Fashina, Dr. Udo Jude, Ms Idayat Hassan, Abubakar Mohammed, Prof. G. Darah, Prof. Adele Jinadu, Prof. Rufai Alkali, Rima Shawulu, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, Dr. Kole Shettima, Adeyemi Candide-Johnson SAN, Mal. Y. Yau, Prof. Pat Utomi and A. Mahmoud, SAN.
They said to move forward, the President must take decisive action to close the trust deficit by identifying and arresting immediately the persons that gave instruction for soldiers to shoot protesting youth at the Lekki Toll gate.
“We call on President 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 gave instruction for soldiers to shoot protesting youth at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20th October 2020
* 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.
* 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.
*Address the nation with 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.
*Develop a clear work plan for the implementation of the governance reform programmes which well meaning Nigerians have been demanding.
Meanwhile, the South-West Caucus of the Senate has identified with the demands of the #EndSARS protesters and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address them.
The Caucus said in a communique after a meeting: ‘’Being cognisant of the recent developments in the country generally and in particular the violent incidents in some places in South West Region, being cognisant of our responsibility to peace, security and welfare of the people, we 17 elected Senators from the six South West States after our meeting state as follow:
‘’We recognise the right of citizens to ventilate their grievances by way of peaceful protests. We have received the 5-point demands of the genuine #EndSARS protesters and we identity with the demands. With our colleagues in the Senate, we have passed these demands to the Federal Executive for implementation.
‘’We deprecate unequivocally the use of brute force against peaceful protesters in the country.
“In view of the massive infrastructure deficit and precarious financial situation of the country, we condemn wanton destruction of public property and those of private individuals by hoodlums as this constitute bastardisation of the cause of genuine #EndSARS peaceful protesters.”