The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture has condemned the gale of looting and attack on businesses by hoodlums who had hijacked the #ENDSARS protests.
It has called for a dialogue between the government and representatives of the genuine youth protesters to end the crisis.
The national president of NACCIMA, Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, expressed the position of the association in a statement titled ‘An urgent call for calm and frank dialogue to end #ENDSARS crisis and ongoing violence.’
She noted that it was unfortunately, that a hitherto peaceful, legitimate protest had been hijacked by thugs and miscreants, resulting in attack on businesses, destruction of government properties, burning of police stations and correctional centres to free prisoners.
While she commiserated with the families who lost their dear ones in the orgy of violence, she also called for a halt to military deployment to end the crisis.
She noted that billions of naira had been lost to the arson and looting, pleading for dialogue, in order to douse the tension in the society.
She said business operations had been seriously impacted, stating further that the efforts of the chamber to help project the country as a favourable and investment-friendly destination to foreign business partners and other foreign investors over the years was now suffering a serious setback.
She said, “At a period we are still struggling with the negative impact of COVID-19 on our economy and working on economic recovery, we must not, by acts of commission or omission, aggravate our economic situation.
“We must therefore step back and work together to end this violent crisis. Towards this end, we are calling for frank dialogue between the leaders of the protesting youth and various arms of government at all levels; including the state and federal governments to douse the tension.
“The prompt agreement on the initial 5-point demands of the protesting youth including disbandment of SARS is a reflection of possibilities of what can be achieved through peaceful and meaningful diaogue on the various contending issues.
“I am therefore using this opportunity to call on Chamber members across the country to reach out to influential opinion leaders and other stakeholders in their respective states to make contacts with such leaders and initiate moves that can take help curb the violence for an end to the crisis.
“As a national chamber, we cannot and should not stand by and watch the current crisis spiral out of control and result in anarchy and lawlessness. We have the patriotic duty to join other stakeholders for an end to the crisis, not just because of our businesses, but because of our nation at this historic junction and for the sake of posterity.”