By Dike Onwuamaeze
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has estimated that the Nigerian economy has suffered the loss of N700 billion to the #EndSARS protests.
The estimated loss was contained in a press statement issued late last night and titled: “The Economic Implications of the #EndSARS Protests,” which was personally signed by the President of LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje.
Mabogunje said: “The LCCI is, however, concerned about the negative impact that the protracted nature of the #EndSARS protests has on business activities across the country. Over the past twelve days, economic activities have been crippled in most parts of the country and have been particularly profound in the urban areas. The Nigerian economy has suffered an estimated ₦700 billion loss in the past twelve days.”
The LCCI observed that the #EndSARS protest has been impactful and profound as it has been able to demonstrate in unmistakable terms the power of the people and the potency of the energy of the youth to bring about change, adding that the protest has achieved some significant outcomes given the reawakening that it has generated in reforming the shortcomings in our political governance and the fact that some of the demands of the protesters have been met.
It, therefore, “recommend that the protesters progress to the next stage of civic engagement, which is the dialogue phase of this struggle. This is necessary to reduce the massive disruptions, blockades and barricades around our major cities and interstate highways. These actions have been at great cost to the economy and the welfare of Nigerian citizens. It should be noted that our economy is still reeling from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggling to recover from its devastating effects.”
Mabogunje stated that the protest has started to witness various unintended outcomes in spite of its positive and noble objectives and warned that “there is a great risk that the situation may degenerate into a case of the complete breakdown of law and order, which is certainly not in consonance with the objectives of the #EndSars peaceful protests. It is important to avoid a situation where even more hardship is inflicted on the very citizens that the protesters are seeking to protect.”
The LCCI, nevertheless, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to grant audience to the leadership of the #EndSars to deliberate on the way forward and to agree on an action plan for the delivery of agreed outcomes.
It also advised that “the government should commit to rapid improvement in governance quality and accountability by effecting necessary institutional, policy and regulatory reforms not only for the police but the entire public sector ecosystem.”