TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD ON 21ST OCTOBER, 2020
Abuja, Nigeria | Wednesday, 21st October, 2020
We condemn in strong terms the killings of young Nigerians in different parts of the country, particularly the incidence of the Lekki toll gate massacre of Tuesday, 20th October, 2020. This is certainly a new low in our national history!
Our heart goes out to the families of our felled martyrs and thousands of young people who have continued to endure great stress, pain and injuries just to project their voices for a New Nigeria! The blood of these martyrs has watered the ground for the New Nigeria of our dreams.
It is becoming very difficult to believe that the government understands or has properly gauged the mood of the youth across the country. The introduction of violence against peaceful protesters is not only in violation of the sanctity of our constitution that guarantees the right to life and peaceful protests but also makes a mockery of the tenets of democracy which the Nigerian youth seeks to uphold.
We had earlier warned in a press statement that any attempt to scuttle or violently suppress this new found vigour by our youth for a greater stake in our own country would not only be a huge disservice to national development but also an open invitation to anarchy.
In the light of the foregoing, the Coalition for a New Nigeria states as follows:
1. We call on the President and Commander-in-Chief to direct the Inspector General of Police and the Service Chiefs to immediat ely identify all those involved in the violent attack of peaceful protesters.
2. We demand that all the states who are yet to set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry must do so within the next seven (7) days to investigate the conduct of state security apparatus in the ongoing peaceful protests across the country.
3. While these measures are being implemented, the government should cease and desist from adopting positions including ‘ungolden’ silence that betrays sympathy to the violence that is being unleashed on our streets and against our youths. The body language of the government might make it difficult to de-escalate and resolve the current crisis. As such, we demand that the President should immediately address the nation to de-escalate the rising tension in the country.
4. Finally, we encourage our youths on peaceful protests on our streets to continue to be peaceful. We must never respond with violence against violence. We must also be ready to dialogue since every crisis including wars end up on the negotiation table. But we insist that it must be an inclusive and altruistic negotiation table. We must never allow opportunists and criminal elements to Infiltrate our ranks. We are not calling for subversion of government. We are just peaceful youths who have been pushed to the wall by a system that seeks to exclude and undermine us.
Clearly, the old vision has ran its course. Nigerian youth have shown that it is time to birth a new vision of a just, equitable, inclusive and compassionate society that provides safe handles for the realization of the noble dreams and aspirations of every Nigerian irrespective of religion, tribe, or social status. The young people have spoken loud and clear that they will no longer be silent or silenced into accepting the status quo as norm. Definitely, Nigeria can do better and it is our collective responsibility especially as younger Nigerians to ensure that the greatness of our country is realized in our lifetime.
The Coalition for a New Nigeria believes strongly that the New Nigeria of our dreams is possible. It is therefore important to take immediate steps to bolster the intellectual aspects of our struggle. We will not only street-storm, we will also brainstorm on those critical Irreducible Minimum Charter of Demands that will henceforth guide our participation in the business of nation building within the broader body politic. We have established a barometer to measure compliance with the above demands and all other demands that have been made by young people across Nigeria.
By the Grace of the Almighty God, we shall prevail! #EndSARS!
Yes, We Can! A new Nigeria is possible, and in our lifetime.
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