The National Economic Council (NEC) has advised organisers of planned nationwide protests marking the first anniversary of the #EndSARS demonstrations of 2020 to find alternative means of registering their grievances.
A statement issued Friday by the office of the Vice-President who chairs the NEC, enjoined the organisers to mindful that the protests could be hijacked by criminals and hoodlums to cause mayhem, especially in view of the security situation in the country.
The statement reads: “While appreciating the role of lawful peaceful protests in the advancement of public discourse under democratic governance, the National Economic Council (NEC) strongly advise those planning public protests across the country to mark the anniversary of the #EndSARS, to consider other lawful alternative means of engagement.
“This is because of the current security situation across the country and the possibility of such protests being hijacked by armed hoodlums and other opportunistic criminals to cause mayhem at such protest events and venues. Council therefore urges the organisers to reconsider their plan.
“NEC would also like to point out the various actions already taken by Federal and State Governments to address the grievances that led to the 2020 protests, including * the disbandment of SARS;*broad police reforms;*establishment of judicial panels of inquiries to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies;* recommendations of panels which are already at various stages of implementation, including the setup of Victims Compensation Funds from which several victims have received payments of sums awarded to them by the panels; *and prosecution of police personnel indicted by the panels.
“These are commendable actions that ought to be taken to a logical conclusion in a peaceful atmosphere.
“Organisers of the planned protests should explore the various channels of communication with governments at various levels to advance their positions and avert the breakdown of law and order that may result from such public protests.”