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Nigerians In Diaspora Write Buhari Over #EndSARS Protest

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Coalition of 17 Nigerian organisations in the Diaspora has sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, expressing outrage over deaths and property destruction during the #EndSARS protests.

In the letter dated October 27, the coalition, comprising professional, ethnic and religious bodies, expressed outrage at the loss of lives and destruction of properties during the protests and made suggestions to move the country forward.

A copy of the letter titled, “Nigerians in Diaspora Appeal for Calm and Express Outrage over Loss of Lives and Destruction of Properties’’, was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Saturday.

The coalition suggested seven immediate actions the government should take to foster calm as it engaged all stakeholders on the path to lasting peace.

They include the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the killing of unarmed protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos state on October 20, the provision of security for survivors, and protection of properties against looters and other criminals.

The coalition also suggested that all state governors should;

Speedily and fairly review cases of arrested unarmed protesters, to facilitate quick release of innocent citizens.

It added that the use of live bullets to enforce law and order during legitimate peaceful protests should be banned.

The coalition stressed;

In the unlikely event that the use of force is needed, it must be limited to activities that put the life of our security personnel at risk, and it must be the last resort.

By taking the above steps, you are by no means caving to pressure, but doing what an effective leader must do during crisis of this nature.

It must be ‘COUNTRY FIRST’, to bring everyone back to the table for meaningful discussion.

While pledging to continue to engage the Buhari administration on the matter, the coalition urged the youth to embrace peace and push their demands through dialogue.

They said;

We are much better than what the world is seeing on social media and we must not allow others to shape the narrative about Nigeria.

We have done so much in the diaspora to improve Nigeria’s image and would hate to see all our efforts go to waste.

The coalition said it sent copies of the letter to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

It said in the letter that the coalition was “painfully perplexed, distraught and distressed’’ by negative images of the protests that flooded the social media.

The coalition noted that the portrayal of the protests in the social media eroded the positive image of the country that Nigerians at home and abroad had laboured hard to build.

Speaking further, it acknowledged government’s deference to the protesters’ demands and steps it took to meet the demands, including the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

A part of the letter reads;

While the above actions are commendable, we ask that you carefully consider what is driving the insistence of the youth for broader and deeper reforms in Nigeria.

Successive administrations have consistently failed the youth to the point of despair and hopelessness.

The group opined;

This protest is not just about inadequacies of the current administration, but an accumulation of issues of over many years.

We appeal to you to look beyond the symptoms and focus on the root causes of what has driven our youths, our future leaders to the streets, to attempt to shape the narratives about their future.

Signatories to the letter are;

Igbo Organisation, New York; Reimagining Black Matters; Akwa Ibom State Association, New York, and the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians.

Nigerian Independence Day Committee; the Nigerian American Public Affairs Committee and the Regional Council of Nigerian Muslims.

The Christ Apostolic Church, First in the Americas; Absolute Faith in Jesus Christ International Church, and Celestial Church of Christ also signed the letter.

The Nigerian Lawyers Association, Association of Nigerian Physicians, Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement, Nigerian Diaspora Voice, Nigerian Youth Diaspora Engagement Forum, Occupy Nigeria and the Association for Credible Leadership in Nigeria are also signatories.

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