There are calls for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to take 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.
A group of concerned Nigerians in a statement titled; ‘Our Youth and the Unfolding National Crisis: Need for Urgent Intervention’ and signed by eminent personalities such as senior lawyer Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, Bishop Matthew Kukah, Mr. Femi Falana, Prof. Pat Utomi and others said for the president to close the trust deficit, he must take decisive actions by identifying and arresting immediately, the persons who ordered men of the Nigeria Army to shoot unarmed protesting youth at the Lekki Toll Gate.
The 41 signatories also include Prof Jibrin Ibrahim and Prof Attahiru Jega.
The group also called on the president to urgently “institute an independent inquiry on the events at the Lekki toll gate leading to the use of live ammunitions on the protestors and 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.
“This attack on unarmed protesters holding the nation’s flag and singing the national anthem will go down in infamy and will be engraved in the minds of Nigerians as one of the worst abuses of its own citizenship,” they added.
Signatories to the statement said at the root of protests by the country’s youth is bad governance and lack of accountability.
“President Buhari must 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,” the group said.
They have also asked the president to “address the Nation with concrete plan of implementation of the modalities and timelines for police reform.”
President Buhari has persistently ignored calls for the sack of the country’s service chiefs in spite of increased attacks by insurgents and bandits in northern Nigeria.
The group of concerned Nigerians however wants the president to respond to those calls.
“We call on president Buhari to respond positively to the consensus opinion that the heads of the security agencies have performed poorly and should be relieved of office and announce urgent steps to address perennial insecurity and killings in the country particularly in the North-East and North-West,” the group said.
The concerned citizens commended the youth who they say have been courageous and patriotic in their demands and urged all Nigerians to support their demands “which have been without any ethnic or religious coloration.”
The group however strongly condemned the spate of violence being witnessed across many cities in the country.
“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 group said.
By Abel Ejikeme