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#EndSARS Protest: NACCIMA calls for calm, frank dialogue

Christopher Uba

Access Bank

The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called for calm and frank dialogue to end the EndSARS protest by the youths as against violence which it said can do more harm than good.

National President of the association Saratu Iya Aliyu, who made the call in a statement at the weekend said rather than violence, dialogue  is the best option, regretting  that  the deployment of military forces to confront the protesters which resulted in unsavoury consequences as witnessed especially at Lekki Toll area in Lagos recently.

She called for an end to the involvement of the military in current situation, adding thatthe impact of the crisis and wanton destruction of property as being witnessed is clear for all to see as billions have been lost in arson and looting going on as operations have also  been seriously impacted.

The NACCIMA President said, “in the midst of activities to mark its 60th Independence Anniversary, our dear nation Nigeria, is facing a serious crisis;  and NACCIMA is calling for calm, and Dialogue for immediate end to an orgy of violence, killings, looting and wanton destruction of properties we are now witnessing.”

She said: “the objective now should be to de-escalate  the crisis being witnessed, which started with what is now known as  the #EndSARS protests by the Youth,” noting that  “unfortunately, a hitherto peaceful, legitimate protest has been hijacked by thugs and miscreants,  resulting in attack on businesses, destruction of government properties, burning of police stations and correctional centres to free prisoners.

Let me express condolences of our Association to immediate and extended families of all those who have lost dear ones in the violence being witnessed across the nation. This is indeed disheartening.

We recognize the right of citizens to peaceful legitimate protests, but we condemn and are totally against the wanton destruction of properties and looting by hoodlums who have hijacked the peaceful protests.

We   cannot sit by and allow the looting and other criminal acts by hoodlums to go on unchecked. We must work with others to put an end to the violence and lawlessness we are now witnessing.

We are equally concerned about  the deployment of military forces to confront the protesters which resulted in unsavoury consequences as witnessed especially at Lekki Toll area in Lagos recently. We are therefore calling for an end to the involvement of the military in current situation. The impact of the crisis and wanton destruction of property as being witnessed is clear for all to see. Billions have been lost in arson and looting going on.  Business operations have also  been seriously impacted.”

She said NACCIMA’s  efforts as a National Chamber, to help project “our country as a favourable and  investment friendly destination to our Business partners abroad, and other Foreign investors over the years is now suffering a  serious setback.

At a period we are still struggling with the negative impact of COVID-19 on our economy and working on economic recovery, we must not, by acts of  commission or omission, aggravate our economic situation.

We must therefore step back and work together to end this violent crisis. Towards this end we are calling for frank Dialogue between the leaders of the protesting youth and various arms of government at all levels;  including State and Federal governments to douse the tension.

The prompt agreement on the initial  5-point demands of the Protesting Youth including disbandment of SARS is a reflection of possibilities of what can be achieved through peaceful and meaning Diaogue on the  various contending issues.

“I am therefore using this opportunity to call on Chamber members across the country to reach out to influential opinion leaders and other stakeholders in their respective states  to make contacts with such leaders  and initiate moves that can take help curb the violence for an end to the  crisis.

As a National Chamber, we cannot and should not stand by and watch the current crisis spiral out of control and result in anarchy and lawlessness.

We have the patriotic duty to join other stakeholders for an end to the crisis, not just because of our businesses, but because of our nation at this historic junction and for the sake of posterity.

Let us therefore join hands with other peace loving people to ensure an end to this crisis. Our Youths must now step forward for engagement and dialogue, in a constructive manner, to be part of the solution and the search for peace,” she pleaded.

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