The Nigeria Alumni chapter of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, ACSS, has condemned the recent violence that followed the protest against the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police Force.
The condemnation is contained in a statement jointly signed on Wednesday by the ACSS President, retired Commodore Abimbola Ayuba and his Secretary-General, Kemi Okenyodo.
The centre particularly condemned the killings in Lekki tollgate, Lagos State as well as the looting and vandalization of public and private properties across the country.
The statement read: “The Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) Nigeria Alumni Chapter notes with grave concern the deteriorating socio-political condition of Nigeria occasioned by the #EndSARS protests.
“The peaceful protests led by young people expressing their constitutionally guaranteed rights turned violent with pockets of mayhem across the country.
“This came to a climax last night with the killings that took place in Lekki, Lagos State and has led to looting and vandalization of public and private properties.
“We acknowledge the fact that the citizens under the age of 45 comprise over 60% of the population and it is important to constructively engage with this population.
“We note that the Government of Nigeria has tried to meet the demands of the protesters by announcing the disbandment of the SARS unit, highlighting aspects of the recently passed Police Act 2020, as well as setting up of judicial panels of inquiries at the State level.
“We condemn all acts of violence by all parties and demand thorough investigation to ensure that all perpetrators of the violence are brought to book.”
The centre, therefore, called on the Federal Government to engage the protesters for a dialogue as a way forward, warning that the possibility of large-scale civil unrest is a clear and present danger.
“We urge the Nigerian government to demonstrate leadership, responsiveness, and sensitivity in dealing with this civil disobedience, as the possibility of large-scale civil unrest is a clear and present danger.
“We further urge people in authority to create opportunities for dialogue and the young people protesting to take advantage of these opportunities when created.
“Finally, we say Nigeria belongs to all of us and we all should be committed to embracing peace and oneness,” the statement noted.