The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, has condemned in very strong terms the unwarranted shooting and killing of unarmed protesters in different parts of the country by security men.
The Guild demands that President Muhammadu Buhari should address the nation to calm frayed nerves. A leader, it says, shouldn’t have any problem talking to the citizens. There is nothing wrong in actively engaging in dialogue with the aggrieved youths.
The Guild sympathises with victims of the shootings and their families and calls for full scale investigation of the Tuesday mayhem across the nation, especially the killing and injuries inflicted on protesters at the Lekki, Lagos Toll Plaza where security personnel shot and killed some protesters before the commencement of curfew at 9pm.
The Guild notes that there was no need whatsoever for security personnel to use live bullets and therefore demands that those found culpable should be brought to justice.
The NGE is worried over the dramatic turn the #EndSARS peaceful protests have taken.
The body of editors notes the declaration of curfew by some state governments following the apparent hijack of the peaceful #EndSARS protests by hoodlums. The Guild commends the efforts of these governors to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The Guild notes that the restriction of movement in parts of the country does not give law enforcers any right to harass and intimidate persons on essential duties, especially journalists who are on the frontline in the discharge of their constitutional duty of gathering, processing and disseminating information. The Guild will not tolerate the harassment of such journalists. They should be allowed unfettered access to places of interest to them as they strive under this atmosphere of insecurity to carry out their legitimate responsibilities.
The Guild also advises journalists to be security cautious in these trying times.
The apparent hijack of the protests by hoodlums should not be used as an excuse by Government not to address the legitimate demands of the #EndSARS protesters.
The Guild condemns the attacks on security personnel, their facilities, public infrastructure and private businesses and calls on government to rein in the miscreants hiding under the #EndSARS protests to perpetrate mayhem on innocent Nigerians.
The body of editors commends the state governments that have set up panels of enquiry to investigate allegations of police brutality, especially the atrocities committed by operatives of the now- disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
Government should take urgent steps to reform the entire security architecture of the nation.
The Guild urges the government to show urgency and openness in meeting the demands of the Nigerian youths.
The Guild appeals to the protesters to give the government benefit of the doubt at this time by opting henceforth for dialogue to avoid further escalation of the blood-letting and brigandage which some misguided miscreants have introduced to what started as a very peaceful exercise.