The Coalition of Concerned Civil Society Groups on #EndSARS under the aegis of Defend Lagos Coalition has vowed to frustrate attempts “to set Lagos on fire again” through protests to commemorate the one year anniversary of #EndSARS.
The coalition stated that it is important to situate the occurrences that triggered the 2020 #EndSARS protests, in proper prospective to prevent a reoccurrence of the mayhem that arose from it.
Spokesman of the Coalition, Comrade Nelson Ekujumi, said there was a need for a rethink, considering the losses incurred by Nigerians in 2020 when a similar protest was hijacked by hoodlums.
The state police commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu had vowed to quell any protest to commemorate the #EndSARS, saying the security agencies would not allow the state to be plunged into crisis as witnessed last year.
The Coalition while lending its voice to the police’s stance said the #EndSARS anniversary should be a moment of sober reflection and not for protest.
Ekujumi said, “As some group of persons and interests contemplate commemorating the anniversary of the #EndSARS protests with another protest, it is our conviction that such an anniversary ought to be a moment for sober reflection on the whole essence of the 2020 protest.
“While we recognise the inalienable rights of citizens to ventilate their grievances, we must admonish that it must be exercised with recognition of the fact that other persons’ right must not be infringed upon in the process.
“In the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 that blew across the country, though an agitation against impunity and lack of accountability in public office encapsulated in the activities of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), at the end of the day, it left a sour taste and sorrow in our hearts.
“The needless killings, looting, destruction of public and private assets that trailed it, most particularly in Lagos state which was the hardest hit, is an experience we will not wish to have again,” he said.
Ekujumi said in the aftermath of the destruction during the protest, psychological trauma was also inflicted on the people of Lagos state.
“We look backwards with pain and anguish over the unwarranted destruction of lives and property.”
“Our major concern is the lives and property of Nigerians. We are aware that the uncoordinated EndSARS protest led to anarchy.
“Assumed leaders of the protest lost their grip on the protesters which led to lawlessness.
”We will never again allow anyone or group of persons to destroy the Lagos state heritage,” he said.