A nationwide coalition of civil society groups, led by the Nigeria National Summit Group (NNSG), yesterday embarked on peaceful protests to Foreign Embassies and High Commissions in the country to seek their interventions in urging the federal government to restructure the country and obey the rule of law.
The protesters, which included Lawyers led by Mr. Ikechukwu Ikeji among others started their march from Allen Avenue, Ikeja, chanting songs and peacefully marching to the United States Embassy at the Walter Carrington Avenue, Victoria Island, also displayed placards with different inscriptions like “Stop Trials by Media”, Obey Court Order”, Respect Rule of Law” Stop Fulani Herdsmmen”, “Implement National Conference Report”, “Restructure Nigeria Now”, among others.
On the motive behind the protest, Convener of the Constitutional Rights Advocacy Initiative, CRAI, Ikeji, said, “This is a peaceful protest to ask for the intervention of international embassies and High Commissions to help prevail on the present federal government to do for us two major things; first, to restructure Nigeria, giving us a true fiscal federalism and not this kind of unitary system we are practicing. Secondly, is for the president to learn to obey and follow rule of law.”
On his part, National Secretary, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Ahmed Tijani Suleiman, said “We are calling for the restructuring of Nigeria because that is the only thing that will set us right. We think the last Confab report will provide ample guidance for the restructuring.”
In her address, the Secretary General, Youths Arise for Change, Mrs. Vera Okei-Shomefun, stated that, “Our differences as a nation need to be addressed. As we speak, the federal government is not doing anything about the incessant atrocities of Fulani herdsmen attacks. We are here to demand that the president should seriously consider implementing the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference report.”
For Ayodele Akele of the Joint Action Front, the demand for self-determination was legitimate within the African Charter of Peoples right, adding that, “every ethnic group has the right to determine whether they stay in a nation, and, I want to advice the president that the language of democracy is dialogue, not force.”
Mr. Fiyebo Epereiti, a Niger Delta youth leader, raised the alarm at the proliferation of militia groups in the country, stressing that restructuring of the country through the report of the national conference would reduce violent engagements across the nation. “We want dialogue, especially on the issue of Niger Delta, which is the backbone of the country. We want accountability and the youths must be carried along in affairs of governance,” he said.
Notable among the foreign missions that granted the protesters audience were those of Italy, Germany and the United States of America.