A non-governmental organization, Citizens Action for Good Governance, has called on the Nigerian government and citizens to join hands for national reconciliation and reconstruction in the aftermath of violence that followed protests against police brutality.
The group’s National Coordinator, Nazir Galadanchi, made the call during a press conference on Thursday themed: ‘When Anger Rises, Think of The Consequences’.
According to him, it was high time Nigerians accepted the fact that there is no other country they can claim except Nigeria.
Mr Galadanchi lamented that what started as a movement to correct certain anomalies in the operations of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS of the Nigeria Police Force culminated into violence and killings.
Recalling the ill scenarios, Mr Galadanchi said: “As at 30th October, 2020 indicated that a total of 243 public facilities were either burnt or vandalized, and 71 public warehouses looted across the country.
“Similarly, 248 private/corporate facilities were either burnt, looted or vandalized and 610 vehicles were destroyed.
“In addition, 134 police stations were either burnt or vandalized; 164 police operational vehicles destroyed; and 130 firearms carted away from some of the attacked police facilities with 31 of the stolen firearms so far recovered.
“Furthermore, 55 civilians lost their lives during the violence, while 57 others were injured.
“On the part of the Nigeria Police, 37, police personnel were murdered while 196 others were seriously injured with 99 of such injured officers attached to Lagos State Police Command alone.
“So far, a total of 2,512 suspects have been arrested with 2,052 of this figure charged to court and the remaining 460 either still being investigated or in the process of being charged to court.
“These figures as they affect the South-South geopolitical Zone indicate that a total of 54 government facilities were attacked, while 23 government warehouses were looted.
“In addition, 53 private and corporate facilities were attacked, while 21 civilians lost their lives in the ENDSARS violence in the region with 18 others injured.
“Furthermore, 7 police personnel were killed by the rioters while a total of 159 suspects were arrested and charged to court in the geopolitical zone.”
He acknowledged that Nigeria is made up of resilient youths who have made an impact on national development in different areas of national life, adding that most of them studying and working in the Diaspora have made the country proud to the admiration of their host countries and others across the globe.
These youths, he said, have great prospects as they have demonstrated that they can compete and surpass their counterparts in any part of the world.
He, however, lamented that the ugly twist and turn of the #EndSARS protest that was orchestrated by fake news that was promoted on social media has done more harm than good which has caused monumental damage and loss of investments and businesses running into billions of Naira.
Mr Galadanchi added that within that short period many Nigerians had lost their jobs and means of livelihoods, while programmes and projects by the public and private sector got stalled.
He also attributed Nigeria’s plunging into recession to the negative impact of the #EndSARS protest.
“Now inflation is on the hyper level, insecurity has increased tremendously. Nigerians are in jeopardy and desperate to survive.
“The obvious part of this destruction has sent the wrong signal to investors and will not be easy for the economy to revive as many businesses are currently shut down,” he said.
Shedding more light on the agenda of the conference, Mr Galadanchi said: “We called for this conference due to the turn of events emanating from the information we have concerning the plot and plan of those sponsoring #EndSARS protest.
“Which we learned protesters are regrouping to unleash another round of mayhem under the guise of making demands.
“We want to state here that this is not the time for another round of destabilizing the peace of the nation.
“Demands made earlier are being attended to by the government including to tackle the recession the nation finds itself.
“We must not allow evil to triumph over good under any guise.
“There is no contention on the rights of the people to protest against actions that impede on their rights and privileges, whether by an individual, groups, government or agents of the government, but tears and sorrows shouldn’t be the hallmarks of protests as witnessed recently.”
He explained that in order to achieve national reconciliation across conventional divides, Nigerians must reason and act as one.
He urged the general public to be wary of “crooks” whose means of livelihoods are not “lawful”, hence contributing to the spate of crimes across the country.
He further emphasized on the need for dialogue, noting that what it cannot solve, violence can never solve it.
He said: “Violence breeds violence and expands the coast of crimes.
“The collective desires of the downtrodden for improved living conditions can best be guaranteed in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, which are the recipe for economic growth and development.”
He, therefore, urged well-meaning Nigerians to take the cause of public enlightenment, sensitization, and guidance of the people towards lawful deeds as a germane priority.
He added that the group had been monitoring the discussions at the Town Hall Meetings organised by the Presidency in some states across the Six Geo-Political Zones.
The group also commended the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and the Inspector General of Police, IGP Muhammed Adamu for their efforts towards national reconciliation and reconstruction.
They called on state governors across the country to engage with citizens in modest manners that portray National Reconciliation and Reconstruction and not otherwise.
He said: “Prior to the ugly scenarios of the aftermath of #ENDSARS Protests, the Community Policing Initiative of the Federal Government, has been projected as a straight forward solution to abate the spate of crimes across communities in Nigeria.
“If truly our Governors love the country and desire enhanced security of lives and properties, there shouldn’t be any encumbrance that will debar them from partnering effectively with the Federal Government to ensure the full commencements of the Federal Government Community Policing Initiative.
“More importantly, the initiative considered the Governors as major stakeholders in the operations of the scheme.
“We also call on young people of Nigeria to evaluate the consequences of the damages caused during the END SARS Protests.
“The aftermath has brought sorrows into many homes and the society is currently witnessing high powered criminality.
“Albeit, the duty of the government is to provide efficient security of lives and properties, without robust collaborations of well-meaning citizens, the security agencies will be overwhelmed by criminals.”
Mr Galadanchi also reminded the age-long slogan that “Rome was not built in a day”.
He said: “Our collective desire for a greater country can come to proper fruition if we all open our conscience to right actions in the best interest of the societies at large.
“The need for national reconciliation and reconstruction never be overemphasized.”
The group, therefore, urged Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, not to see themselves as tough and avoid using their platform to instigate young people to go against constituted authorities.
On this, the group called on security agents to monitor such groups and stop their nefarious acts for peace to reign in our country.
It appealed to the government to ensure no delay in addressing the demands of #EndSARS protesters as earlier promised.
That, Mr Galadanchi said, should involve the youths themselves in the process of addressing their demands through genuine and well-meaning CSOs.
He also solicited support for persons affected by the destruction caused by perpetrators of violence during the protests as part of the reconstruction and reconciliation process, and also a way of tackling the recession.
The United Kingdom, UK Parliament, he said, should be properly engaged by the Federal Government in order to let them know graphic details of what transpired before, during and after the #EndSARS protest in order to make a clearer picture of it for the international community.
He said the Panel of Inquiry should be given support to give justice to those who have written their complaints on alleged police brutality, as well as be part of the reconciliation process, and those who are to be compensated should be given such.
He said: “Traditional rulers and local government authorities should be involved in the peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process because they are the closest authorities to the people.
“Nigerians should be given more enlightenment on fake news and its impact as seen in the #EndSARS protest. Let there be serious understanding of information that gets to the people to avoid any future mayhem.
“We also advise that nobody should be victimized as being part of #EndSARS protest in order not to create and compound the issues of #EndSARS.
“We also want Nigerians to trust their security agents and there should be that synergy and collaboration between them because security agents are also Nigerians, neighbors, relations, friends and citizens.
“In essence, the rights of citizens and security agents should be respected and never infringed upon.”
The group appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his effort towards addressing these challenges.
While acknowledging the presidential delegation sent by the president to go round the country, the group thanked the National Assembly for its effort to ensure peace and reconciliation in the country over the effects of the protests.