BY EDMOND ODOK – The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) is insisting on the the renegotiation of Nigeria because the current political imbalance has continued to produce sorrow, poverty and death in the country.

For NCEF, the unjust and sectional political structure left behind by the British colonialists is no longer sustainable and must there be worked on towards meeting the emerging challenges of nationhood.

Rising from an emergency meeting to review current events in the country, the Christian Elders said; with respect to renegotiating Nigeria, “this is necessary to prevent the country from sliding the Sudan way that resulted in two Sudans from one Sudan.”

According to them; “This is because of racism perpetuated by the Arabs against the Negroes. Race has a rather complicated past; race has been used over the ages to categorize, praise, and penalize individuals or groups of supposed discrepancies.”

They pointed out that an “influential social structure has a profound effect on the lives of people as it is also used to create and sustain the dynamics of privilege and influence”, adding that; “Access to service and opportunity are also distributed along ethnic lines … migrants are racialized in many parts of the world as migrants.”

The body also lamented that “it is only in Nigeria in the whole of Africa that native Nigerians are being racialized for being natives.”

In a resolution signed by its Secretary, Mr Bosun Emmanuel, the NCEF accused the Federal Government of mismanaging the #EndSARS protests in the country with its deployment of the military to attack unarmed protesters.

The resolution titled: “#EndSARS – It is time to renegotiate Nigeria”, the NCEF insisted that anyone found to have authorised the deployment of troops to shoot at the protesters must be brought to answer for his crimes against humanity.

Also urging the Federal Government to take advantage of the current situation to introduce the long-awaited State police, the NCEF said; “It is time to re-negotiate Nigeria. The time is ripe for Nigeria to be re-negotiated. The political imbalance in the country has produced nothing but sorrow, poverty, and death for Nigerians.”

Maintaining that “all the lives lost are Nigerian and there was no need for any of them to have died”, the Forum said; “NCEF wishes to express great sorrow at the recent events in the country which commenced with nationwide protests against the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and climaxed in the death of some of the unarmed protesters, security personnel, and mindless destruction of properties.

“There must be full National Assembly inquiry into the causes of death and destruction that trailed the peaceful #EndSARS protests…. The government must be fully investigated for the role played by security agents in transporting, and supervising vandals and thugs to attack the protesters.”

Similarly, the Christian Elders said; “The prison breaks and widespread arson should be diligently investigated as there are allegations of government complicity to discredit the protest.

“The current situation was mishandled by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari because the army was released against unarmed protesters in Nigeria. Whoever authorised the deployment of troops to face the protesting youths should be court-marshalled for murder.

“It is curious that a government that claimed it negotiated with terrorists and integrated them into the military could not negotiate with unarmed protesters but chose to shoot them. This double standard that is characteristic of the Buhari administration is condemnable.

“As the country mourns the death of the protesters, the security personnel, as well as other people who died as collateral damages, NCEF appeals to the youths to suspend any further public protest. The point has been made that though Nigerians are tolerant and patient, they are not docile.”

The Forum, which noted that the “unjust and sectional political structure left behind by the British colonialists is no longer sustainable”, said government must take advantage of the protests rejecting police brutality to introduce state police.

“This is the appropriate step under the circumstances to ensure adequate and effective security nationwide and henceforth localise any case of police excesses to the states.

“The failure of government to declare state police at this point should be interpreted to imply that a centrally controlled police is desired by the government in order to continue to provide state cover for marauding Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram.”

However, in urging all Nigerians to remain calm and prayerful as the nation is going through another phase of turmoil in its journey to nationhood, the NCEF said; “We shall overcome these travails and birth a new nation where truth, justice, and fairness shall prevail.”

They also use the opportunity to condole all the families bereaved due to the crisis and prayed that God shall comfort all those who lost loved ones.

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