Mr Tony Uranta, Executive Secretary, Justice and Equity for Peace and Unity Initiative (JEPUIN), has warned that street protests being planned for Saturday (June 12) can be hijacked and may end in violence.
Supreme reports that June 12, a significant landmark in the political history of Nigeria, was declared the country’s Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020.
The declaration came decades after agitations by many Nigerians and civil society groups that the day should be set aside to honour the late Chief M.K.O Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
The election was annulled by then Military Head of State, now retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
Supreme also reports that some rights activists have called for nationwide protests on the Democracy Day over challenges in the country.
Uranta told journalists in Lagos on Friday that those planning to engage in the nationwide protests should note that consequences of street protests might be dire.
The JEPUN scribe advised organisers of the protest to engage in other forms of civil action such as dialogue that would be less prone to violence.
Uranta commended the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for shelving its planned protest on Saturday.
He urged all youths and civil groups to jettison the idea of street protests, warning that the protests could result in violence.
He said: “Though the myriads of challenges in the country may seem overwhelming, they are not insurmountable, if all Nigerians will join forces and encourage the Federal Government and security agencies to do the needful.”
Uranta said that efforts and sacrifices of some Nigerians including leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), who were at the forefront of the fight for democracy, would be undermined if youths, for whom they fought, would take to the streets on June 12 to protest rather than reflect.
“As a member of NADECO/NALINCON, I still have great hopes that the democracy we fought for has come to stay.
“Nigerian youths must begin to think beyond ethnic and religious lines on how to move the nation forward rather than being used by some disgruntled elements to unleash terror on the nation,” he said.
Uranta urged parents, guardians, traditional rulers, leaders of thought and others to discourage their wards, and subjects from joining in the protests.
He said that the protests could be detrimental to all.
The JEPUIN scribe noted the sacrifices of the now deceased June 12 agitators such as Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Dr Frederick Fasheun, retired Commodore Ndubusi Kanu and Mr Yinka Odumakin.
He urged that their efforts to enshrine democracy, for which they were jailed and pilloried, should not be in vain.
JEPUIN is the premier collective of patriotic Nigerians determined to do all necessary to keep Nigeria united as a truly just and equitable democracy as foreseen by the founding fathers.
The organisation, birthed early in 2019, focuses on building a united Nigeria on the foundation of justice, equity and fairness.