The Eminent Elders Forum has asked the Nigerian Government to engage the #EndSARS protesters in robust dialogue rather than attempting to crush them.
This was part of the resolutions reached at a virtual meeting of the Forum on Friday, October 23, 2020 following the crisis that had trailed the #EndSARS protest in the country.
The Forum deliberated on the demands of the youths and agreed that protesters had genuine reasons for their agitation.
“We, as Elders of this country, are saddened and greatly pained by the alleged killings of our children by the military and police that are created to safeguard them and defend the nation.
Government should engage the protesters in robust dialogue rather than attempting to crush them.”
The Forum which comprises of top ranking senior citizens, who have held frontline positions in the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, Police, Military, Civil Society, public and private sectors of Nigeria, called on the Armed Forces, especially Nigerian Army, to desist from further attacks against the protesters in any form.
“We condemn unequivocally, the alleged shooting of the civil protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos and the alleged use of sponsored thugs to attack the protesters including the destruction of properties.
“We see such actions as barbaric that should not occur in a 21st century Nigeria.
“We, therefore, call for adequate compensation for the bereaved families and the injured in this regard.”
The Forum further recommended a change of Service Chiefs and the rejigging of the nation’s security architecture to effectively secure the lives and properties of the citizens.
The Elders urged the Federal Government to reduce the number of members of the National Assembly, State Assemblies and, the number of political appointees.
“Essentially, we call for an urgent review of the cost of governance to reflect our national economic realities even as we urge the governments to Identify and block all wastages.”
It also asked the government to scrap payment of salaries and provision of constituency projects for members of the National and State Assemblies.
“They should instead be placed on sitting, transport and hazard allowances as it were in the first republic’s parliamentary system,” adding that the legislature, like the other arms of government, has become too unwieldy and too expensive for the nation to sustain.”
The Elders demanded that all ill-gotten wealth should be identified, recovered and converted to public use.
“To this end, all anti corruption agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and others should be strengthened to take the fight against corruption very seriously and live up to the expectation of the public,” they advised.
Other resolutions made at the meeting include that “the Police, National Security and Civil Defence Corps, among others, should be revived and strengthened to protect lives and properties of citizens.
“The NYSC should be re-evaluated and strengthened to fulfill its founding objectives.
Universities and other tertiary institutions should be made relevant to national development objectives.
“There should be adequate funding for the development of the nation’s universities and other tertiary institutions. Both academic and non-academic unions in tertiary institutions should be carried along in the scheme of things.”
The communique issued at the end of the meeting was jointly signed by Prof. Chukwuemeka Eze Onukaogu – Chairman, Resolutions/Communique Committee; Hajia Dr. Baraka Sani – Co-Chair, Resolutions/Communique Committee; Elder Muyiwa Ayo-Vaughan – Secretary, Resolutions/Communique Committee; Elder Smollette Adetoyese Shittu-Alamu – Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee; Chief Anayo Arinze – Secretary, Media and Publicity Committee; and Prof. Echefuna Rotimi Onyebeadi – Convener/Coordinator.