Socio-political group, Afenifere, has said it was not surprised when the #EndSARS protest began.
In a statement by its Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the foremost Yoruba group said it showed the fact that Nigerians were tired of the excesses of the Nigerian State as symbolised by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The statement said: “AFENIFERE is not in the least surprised by the ENDSARS protests that have rocked Nigeria for several days now as it is a natural flow from the cumulative actions of mindless ruling elites over the years and as the NO time comes often in history.
“We salute the Nigerian youth who have risen to say ENOUGH to the excesses of the Nigerian state symbolized by the crimes of SARS at this period in history.
“The Nigerian youth have always shown indignation against state irresponsibility at critical stages over decades.
“In 1961, they shot down the Anglo-Nigerian defend pact. In1978, they took over the streets of Nigeria in the “Ali Must Go” crisis. In 1986,they had a showdown over the killings of four ABU students by the police and in 1992, it was the anti – SAP revolt.
“And at a time the government was thinking that it had removed the spark of protests in Nigeria with organized labor compromise over the hike in fuel prices and electricity tariff, the young people woke up again over the extrajudicial killings and other brutalities of SARS. For decades, and more stridently in recent times, patriotic citizens have ceaselessly clamored for a new constitutional order to arrest the downward spiral of our country into the abyss of political destruction. We have witnessed, over the years, the systematic savaging and plundering of our collective well-being in a mindless frenzy of corruption, bigotry, injustice and social decadence, perpetrated with disdain and impunity. The signs have been clear for some time, that we were approaching the tipping point. Events of the past few days, will appear to suggest that the last straw is nigh.
“As proud forebears of the struggle for the emancipation of Nigeria from the clutches of oppression and injustice, we salute the courage and responsible initiative of the youth in peacefully pressing for justice and social reforms as encapsulated in the #ENDSARS protests. This is the culmination of a lifelong struggle by devoted patriots to bring about a new social and constitutional order in our polity, to institute a new dawn of peace and progress embedded in social justice.
“This is not the time for long speeches. The message is clear:
“Let us NOW rescue Nigeria from imminent disintegration and destruction. Let us RESTRUCTURE our country into a fairer, more just and equitable polity NOW.
“To enhance nationwide security, create STATE POLICE NOW.
“To enhance nationwide development and progress RETURN CONTROL OF RESOURCES TO STATES NOW.
“To ensure peaceful and harmonious co-existence DEVOLVE MORE POWERS TO THE STATES NOW.
“To reduce corruption and cost of governance REDUCE THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT NOW.
“NOW is the time. Tomorrow may be too late.
“Savaging and plundering of our commonwealth in a mindless frenzy of corruption, bigotry, injustice and social decadence, perpetrated with disdain and impunity, selfishly unmindful of dissipating our assets and wealth; without any compunction in leaving massive Infrastructural deficit and mounting indebtedness for the younger generation.
“The demands contained in the #END SARS are all reasonable demands for good governance, better security for life and property and a stable economy.
“We call on the President, the National and State Assembly and Governors to heed to the patriotic demands of our youth and be willing to absorb the financial consequences by reducing their own salaries and expenses; as well as the costs of running government.
“The economic implications will boost employment, stimulate demand and pull our country out of depression. The government has to act now, tomorrow may be too late.
“We appeal to the protesters to avert a breakdown of law and order as we warn the government to avoid any precipitate action that can escalate the tense situation.
“No amount of threats and unleashing of violence will get these young people off demanding a better deal.
“It is not helpful blackmailing the protesters instead of looking into their demands and establishing a better liveable polity.
“The spirit behind these protests will rise again and again to demand a better and fairer deal.
“We cannot afford to continue running Nigeria in the old ways.”