People & Money

#ENDSARS: In the Wake of Attacks on Businesses, NACCIMA Calls for Dialogue

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called for dialogue as a means of ending the orgy of violence and destruction witnessed across the country in the past week.

A statement signed by Saratu Iya Aliyu, the national president, NACCIMA said the focus now should be to de-escalate the crisis being witnessed, which started with the #EndSARS protests by the youth.

Unfortunately, the statement said, 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,” the national president said.

Also Read: #EndSARS with the 2020 Police Reform Act: Dauda Garuba, Energy Sector Reform Specialist

“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.”

NACCIMA noted that the impact of the crisis and wanton destruction of property as being witnessed is clear for all to see, adding that billions have been lost in arson and looting.

Similarly, business operations have also been seriously impacted, it explained.

“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 Dialogue 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.”

Also Read: #ENDSARS: Residents, Hoodlums Loot Stores, Warehouse, Business across Nigeria

As a national chamber, NACCIMA said it cannot stand by and watch the current crisis spiral out of control and result in anarchy and lawlessness, adding that it has patriotic duty to join other stakeholders for an end to the crisis, not just because of businesses, but because of the 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,” the statement said.

“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. We must mobilize ourselves and join others to urgently put an end to the crisis.”

IN CONTEXTLast week, residents and suspected hoodlums went on a looting spree of major stalls, warehouses and businesses across Nigeria.
The development came against the backdrop of the breakdown of law and order in most cities and towns in the country after the #ENDSARS protest took a violent turn earlier in the week.
Trouble started Tuesday night when details emerged of shootings at the Lekki area of Lagos where protesters gathered to air their grievances.
The development would snow-ball into full-scale anarchy in most part of the country as thugs, hoodlums and residents stormed major stores and shopping malls to vandalise property.
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