By Sunday Okobi
Following the October 20 Lekki Tollgate shooting of the #EndSARS protesters, a group of Nigerian youths under the umbrella of New Nigerian Youth Movement (NNYM) has drawn up an action plan to reposition their future, as well as demand to participate in the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by state governors in the country.
In a statement issued by their leaders after birthing the new Movement via Zoom session by local and diaspora Nigerian youths, they stated that one of the aims of the movement is to better engage those at the grassroots like the ‘street landlords’ whom many refer to as thugs and hoodlums, to use their energy for the betterment of the society.
One of the leaders of the new movement, Stephen Akintayo, in the statement, said: “We are not a political party, but a movement for a new Nigeria, and we are open to working with like minds with similar agenda for the new Nigeria we envision.
“Recall that some hoodlums had hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protests, disturbing the peace in many states and leaving people to think that the movement does not have a focus, hence the behaviour of the hoodlums who were mistaken for the protesting youths.
“We apologise to them for occupying their space since the beginning of the protest before they joined the party on Wednesday.
“They are also Nigerians, and we must remember that no Nigerian is more Nigerian than others.
“It is the classism between the ‘haves’ and ‘haves not’ in our society that has made many Nigerians vulnerable, and the less privileged becoming hoodlums.”
In the statement signed by leaders of the Movement, Abdulmalik Yahaya, Chekwube Nwokoro, Muhammad Adeleke, Stephen Akintayo, Titilayo Iluditan, Dr. David Onabajo and Akinade Ayodeji, they said moving forward, they want the government to appoint a youth as the co-chairman and co-secretary of all the Panels of Inquiry on Police Brutality being set up by state governors.
“We demand that the Panel of Inquiry sessions should be streamed live on national television stations and social media (like the Oputa Panel).
“We are not political party, our members are free to join any political party of their choice, and we are encouraging all youths to become active card-carrying members of any political party of their choice as #PVCisnotEnough.
“Also, we need the panel composition to be made up of 50 per cent youths across all states. The panel must be independent and should have power to summon the governor to defend accusations against him in states where such is required.
“The panel in Lagos should start by investigating the Lekki Tollgate shooting first, as this is urgent, and addressing this will calm nerves and lead us to the path of peace and justice for all.”
According to them, “we are willing to midwife the process of selection of credible youths via online voting just like the ‘Big Brother Naija,’ where over 300 million people voted for winners. The language of the youths is different and government must recognise this. Through online voting, we can have youth leaders across all states recognised and elected on recommendation and voting, and the top seven in each state would join the panel”.