A national think thank group, The Gravitas Group for Good Governance, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately commence the process of writing a new constitution for fairness, justice and equity to reign in the nation.
The group comprises eminent Nigerians that include Akogun Tola Adeniyi, Ambassador Yemi Farounbi, Dr Kunle Olajide, Ambassador Folake Marcus Bello, Professor Mojibaolu Okome, Lady Modupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, Professor Gbenga Ayeni, Chief Rotimi Osuntola and Professor Anthony Kila.
A statement signed by the group particularly said it was expedient for Buhari to immediately submit an executive bill for a new constitution that recognises the diversity of the nation, devolves powers and resources to states, allows federating units determine their order of priorities, establishes state police.
According to the group, the new constitution should also bring about a massive reduction in the cost of governance, review the political recruitment process to accommodate new faces and debar the recycling of set of persons with a similar mindset about realities in the country.
In its prognosis of the #EndSARS protests, the group noted that the violent aftermath of the protest epitomised the frustration of Nigerians about the state of affairs of the country and the disconnect between government and the governed.
Noting that government was behind the impoverishment of many citizens, the group cautioned government officials against referring to hapless Nigerians as hoodlums, hooligans or criminals.
It warned that the crisis in the past few weeks could be tip of the iceberg, and urged public office holders, legislators to be closer to their constituents for them to be responsive to their needs.
In addition, the Gravitas group called for the disengagement of all Security Chiefs, especially the Inspector General of Police (IGP), while it demanded a formal apology from the Federal Government for the Lekki Tollgate shooting.
While commiserating with parents and relatives of victims of #EndSARS protests related events, in the past weeks, the group urged government at all levels to ensure compensation for those who suffered massive losses.
The statement read: “The Gravitas Group for Good Governance, a national Think Tank otherwise known as G4 has called for the enshrinement of a new Constitution for the nation.
“We call on the President to immediately submit an executive bill to commence the process of writing a new constitution that recognises the diversity of the nation, and which must include the establishment of State Police, devolution of powers and resources to the states to enable the federating units to order their own priorities in line with the preferences and choices of their people, bearing in mind, the national dream and vision of Nigeria to embrace Justice, Equity and access to the good life by all.
“The cost of governance must be massively reduced and there must be a review of the political recruitment process to allow for the inclusion of fresh and new faces, voices and ideas including a commensurate percentage of youths and women.
“The recycling of those whose views do not reflect merit or the contemporary realities of the country must stop henceforth.
“We demand a formal apology from the Federal Government for the deployment of military personnel to the Lekki Toll Plaza where the hitherto peaceful demonstration was turned into a scene of blood by shooting innocent and unarmed young people, whose only desire was to see the nation governed within the ambit of the rule of law.
“The group also calls for the disengagement of all Security Chiefs, including the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the need for Ministers and Legislators to be more readily available to the people by constant visits to their constituencies, and responsive to their communications, failing which, what the nation has witnessed in the past few weeks could be a prelude to what may eventually come.
“It has become obvious that the financial leakages normalized in our political system, as well as the general distance of government from the people are major parts of the root causes of the impoverishment which has led to the frustration of our youths. and that government at all levels should desist from references to these hapless Nigerians as hoodlums, hooligans and criminals.
“G4 concludes that these sets of people are the creation of the society and social welfare policies are needed to give them relief from abject poverty, frustration, despair and disillusionment it brings.
“The group sympathises and commiserates with parents and relatives of victims of the military and police excesses during the unfortunate incidence while expressing sympathy and feelings of compassion for those whose businesses, personal properties and belongings were destroyed or looted in the process.
“As a country, we should also have ways to compensate citizens who have experienced massive losses.”
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The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has convened a meeting with stakeholders and has agreed to meet all demands raised by the #EndSARS protesters, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the state government has earmarked N200million as compensation for families of victims of #EndSars protest.