The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advised the EndSARS protesters to progress to dialogue as the next stage of civic engagement, in consideration of economic activities.
Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, made the appeal in a statement on Monday in Lagos.
Mabogunje said the dialogue phase was necessary to reduce the massive disruptions, blockades and barricades around major cities and interstate highways.
The LCCI President said that the actions had been at great cost to the economy and the welfare of Nigerian citizens.
She urged the protesters to note that the Nigerian economy was still reeling from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and was struggling to recover from its devastating effects.
Mabogunje said that the Nigerian economy had suffered an estimated N700 billion loss in the past 12 days since the protest started.
“The LCCI wishes to express its condolences to the families of all who have lost their lives through the brutal actions of the police and all those who have suffered in one way or the other the cruel and unjust acts of the police, especially the officers of Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The LCCI appreciates the value of citizens’ engagement and the demand for accountability which the EndSARS protest essentially represents.
“These are in consonance with democratic norms and they also form vital ingredients for good governance.
“The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry is however concerned about the negative impact that the protracted nature of the EndSars protests has on business activities across the country.
“Over the past 12 days, economic activities have been crippled in most parts of the country and has been particularly profound in the urban areas.
“The Nigerian economy has suffered an estimated N700 billion loss in the past 12 days,” she said.
The LCCI President said the protest, which had been impactful and profound, had also demonstrated in unmistakeable terms the power of the people.
It had also demonstrated the potency of the energy of the youth to bring about change, Mabogunje said.
She, however, noted that the nation had also begun to experience various unintended outcomes of the protest.
“The protest has achieved some significant outcomes given the reawakening that it has generated in reforming the shortcomings in our political governance and the fact that some of the demands of the protesters have been met.
“There is a great risk that the situation may degenerate into a case of the complete breakdown of law and order which is certainly not in consonance with the objectives of the EndSars peaceful protests.
“It is important to avoid a situation where even more hardship is inflicted on the very citizens that the protesters are seeking to protect,” Mabogunje said.
She, therefore, appealed that President Muhammadu Buhari should urgently grant audience to the leadership of the protest to deliberate on the way forward.
This, she said, should also be to agree on an action plan for the delivery of agreed outcomes.
Mabogunje urged government’s commitment to rapid improvement in governance quality and accountability.
She said this was by effecting necessary institutional, policy and regulatory reforms, not only for the police, but the entire public sector ecosystem.
“The Leadership of the protest should occupy the seats provided to participate in the reforms to be implemented by government in response to their demands,” she said. (NAN)