The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has reacted to the shooting of protesters by soldiers, on Tuesday, at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State.
The group appreciated the #EndSARS protesters for demanding an end to police brutality and bad governance in a peaceful manner until they were attacked by security operatives.
ARG in a statement signed by Olawale Oshun, its National Chairman, said the use of force on peaceful protesters questioned the loyalty of the troops of the Nigerian Army who intervened and shot at defenseless Nigerians displaying the Nigerian national flag and singing the Nigerian national anthem.
The group, however, said the violence that followed the killings was an attempt to bring Lagos State, and the entire South-west, to its knees and declare a state of emergency there.
“We observe with deep consternation the scale of violence and the creeping violence which continued today against government properties, targeted business holdings, and the not too hidden objective of bringing Lagos State and by extension YORUBALAND to its knees.”
“Afenifere Renewal Group, devoid of any political partisanship and sentiments, observes that happenings in the last 24 hours in Yorubaland point to a grand scheme by despotic forces to make the South-West the epicentre of ‘war’ against peaceful protests, precipitating a breakdown of law and order and therefore giving the National government the excuse to impose a state of emergency across the State and other parts of YORUBALAND as has been previously rumored.”
Having commended the peaceful protesters for their patriotism and good intention, the group urged them to “separate themselves from the present carnage and destruction, temporarily stopping their protests, and engaging in the intervening period in wider consultations.”
“We frown at the violent insurrections that have dominated the happenings, particularly the economic terrorism on Lagos State, the sacrilege committed in the palace of Oba of Lagos, and the wanton destruction of public infrastructure and properties belonging to perceived ‘political enemies’. All these attacks, including those on the governors of Osun and Ekiti States, point to a well planned fifth columnist agenda. It is puzzling that while curfew is in place to allow for the restoration of order; arsonists took over and had an unhindered reign of terror.”
ARG also restated its call for the restructuring of Nigeria .
“We all know that the #EndSARS protest is only a metaphor for the unworkable and oppressive 1999 Constitution and that this country has no desirable place in the comittment of progressive, developing and well-governed nations without a reworking of that constitution, in a manner that promotes true federalism principles.
“We, therefore, call on all elected political officials, especially the governors and the Yoruba members of the National Assembly to speak out and go beyond the tokenism of publicly identifying with the protesters and vigorously demand the restructuring of Nigeria.”
The group also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to come up with urgent reforms in the police and by extension the full restructuring of the governance structure.
“In conclusion, we warn against any attempt to declare a state of emergency in any southwest state. The sad history of Nigeria must not be allowed to repeat itself. We commend the youths, our people, and leaders for their display of civility so far and call on them to continue to stand firm on the side of the people,” the statement read.