Youths in the southern Nigeria under the aegis of the Southern Youth Forum (SYF), are planning a simultaneous one-million-man march across the 17 states of southern Nigeria to express their solidarity for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group has also backed the commencement of the Operation Crocodile Smile VI of the Nigerian Army across the nation, saying that the exercise has no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever.
The convener of the forum, Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi; his deputy, Dr. Fidelis Nze, and Secretary, Barrister John Atani, said the march, among other things, will pictorially showcase to Nigerians how the Buhari administration has acceded to and exceeded all demands put forward by the #EndSARS protesters.
The forum also condemned the attack on Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest in Oshogbo, describing it as an act of terrorism.
Odeyemi said the solidarity rally is to let the President know that the majority of Nigerians were still with him and will also draw the protesters’ attention to what the administration is doing to address their grievances, in the short, medium, and long terms.
“Every responsible citizen should be worried about the rapid degeneration of what began as a reasoned protest against police brutality and extra-judicial indulgences, but has now been hijacked by hoodlums and clannish politicians who are presenting a picture of docility on the part of the government to the demands of the genuine protesters.
“Thankfully, the Buhari administration that has a reputation as a listening and responsive government, has already disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), accused of rights abuses and also set in motion processes of acceding to other demands of the protesters.
“From all intents and purposes, it is clear that the #EndSARS protest must be prevented from completely degenerating into a free-wheeling melee leading to further loss of lives and wanton destruction. Also, political agents of destabilization must be shut out from cashing in on the situation.
“Across the 17 states of the South, we have mobilised our members and our #IstandwithBuhari is already trending on social media. The solidarity rally will take place in the 17 state capitals of the south and we urge the security agencies to provide adequate cover for us.”
While envisaging a positive outcome to the Operation Crocodile Smile VI of the Nigerian Army across the nation, the forum said it is preposterous for anyone to insinuate that the exercise was meant to stifle the ongoing #EndSARS protest.
“For the records, this exercise commenced in 2016 and has been a tremendous success. Interestingly, the addition of cyber war exercise to this year’s edition makes it unique because it would assist to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace”.
“We welcome and commend the Nigerian Army and the COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai for coming up with the initiative.”