A group, the North-South Progressive Movement (NOSOP) has expressed concern over the hijack of the ongoing protest across the country by some hoodlums and miscreants masquerading as protesters.
NOSOP, in a statement signed by Dr. John Nwobodo, its National Coordinator, said the real protesters had a concrete 5-point demand which they presented to the Federal Government.
It, however, observed that the situation escalated with the shooting of unarmed youths at the Lekki Area of Lagos State.
“The youths remained on the streets in protest and unfortunately some were mowed down by soldiers’ bullets at the Lekki Toll Gate on 10th October, 2020.
“This barbaric shooting and murder of armless protesting youths by trigger happy soldiers outraged the youths and led to escalation of protests in most Southern States.
“We at NOSOP condemn in very strong terms the killing of armless youths protesting against a cause they felt strongly and passionately about. Protest is a recognized means of expressing public opinion and the right to peaceful assembly is a constitutional guaranteed right in Nigeria.
“However, it is regrettable that hoodlums and miscreants hid under the cover of EndSARS protest to unleash destruction of public infrastructure and economic assets, including private investments of hardworking Nigerians. This unfortunate incident made it inevitable for some States to impose a dusk to dawn curfew to restore peace and order with the attendant economic losses and disruption of public Services.
“It is the view of NOSOP that the gain achieved by the initial peaceful protest will amount to nothing but wasted efforts if the protests persist. It is in the interest of the protesters and government as well as the citizenry to ensure that there is absolute peace in the country. There can be no meaningful achievement in an atmosphere of chaos and instability. The country is currently grappling with enormous leadership and developmental challenges and adding to the challenge will put the country at a risk of collapse of the economy and national cohesion.
“Granted that Nigeria is not where it should be but the desired level cannot be attained by acts which are inimical to peace and unity or by resort to criminality.”
NOSOP offered to lead the engagement with the government on implementation of the demands of Nigerian youths.
“We realize the huge task of governance and the fact that a lot depends on funding.
“We advise the government to prioritize the demands of our youths and take concrete, precise and measurable steps to addressing their demands.
“Furthermore, we appeal to the youths to heed the advice of Mr. President as contained in the Presidential broadcast of October 22, 2020 to withdraw from the streets. We also appeal to the security and law enforcement agencies to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians and ensure that law abiding citizens go about their businesses without let or hindrance.
“NOSOP enjoins Nigerians to maintain peace and show tolerance in these challenging moments. This too will pass,” it advised.