The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalism NGIJ has roundly condemned the mayhem unleashed by thugs who hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protests, as well as the shooting of unarmed civilian #EndSARS protesters in Lekki axis of Lagos state where many youths were reportedly maimed and killed on Tuesday, October 20.
The Guild also expressed grief, shock and concern over the unfortunate loss of lives and valuable property in various parts of the country as a result of the protests and pray that God console the affected families.
In a statement signed by the guild’s Vice President (Information and Strategy), Mr Israel Bolaji, in Lagos, the NGIJ stated that the orgy of violence threatens the gains of democracy in Nigeria while the development was not the best option in the interest of democracy and development.
While the call for an end to police brutality and impunity, as well as improved governance was in order, the unprecedented violence, unquantifiable destruction, massive looting and loss of lives amount to a blatant violation of basic laws of human freedom, peace, right to life and possession of properties.
The statement added, “We restate with conviction that citizens have the full rights to protest to express their agitations, displeasure and grievances to the government within the confines of the law.
“That, however, should not be allowed to degenerate into a carnage or total break down of law and order. We must strive to protect our democracy by embracing dialogue and shifting grounds.”
The guild appeals to the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the situation and come out with the true position that would help the Judicial Panel of Inquiry into cases of Human Right Abuses across the nation and investigate those behind the dastardly acts with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
In view of this, the NGIJ appealed to angry protesters to sheath their swords, dialogue with government and make government commit to an actionable plan of action that will drastically change the status quo for short, mid and long terms.
“Having made their demands known, it is imperative that angry protesters calm down and negotiate with government and commit them to a concrete action plan targeted at yielding desired results to which government will be held responsible specifically on the issue of police brutality as well as the general call for improved governance that translates to better condition of living for citizens.
“We also call on parents and guardians to caution their wards against destroying private and public assets. We also appeal to youths to discontinue the protest to curb infiltration and being hijacked by hoodlums”, the NGIJ cautioned.