Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The traditional ruler of Umueri community in Anambra-East local government area of Anambra state, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Sir Ben Izuchukwu Emeka, has offered his fatherly admonitions to all protesting youths across the country.
Igwe Emeka admonished young Nigerians championing the ENDSARS agitations to sheathe their swords and allow the government of the federation to consider their requests for onward implementation.
The traditional ruler, who spoke with our correspondent in Awka, noted that nothing tangible can be achieved in an atmosphere of confusion and rancour and that there is the need for all parties to embrace peaceful dialogue and amicable resolutions of differences.
The monarch, who doubles as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of New Idea Construction Company, stressed that it was the right of youths to engage in harmless protests to attract the sympathy and attention of government to their plights but maintained also that their fundamental rights do not extend to wanton destruction and vandalisation of both public and private properties across the nation.
He said, “The EndSARS protest was well thought-out but somewhere along the line government allowed it to linger for too long. That allowed the hoodlums to go back to the drawing board to learn how to infiltrate the good intentions of the protest.
“The shootings at Lekki now aggravated the whole thing and hoodlums had a field day destroying properties, government facilities and so on.
“But I want to say that it is not right for anybody to take laws into his own hands. It is not right for any youth to go on the rampage, damaging facilities of government because at the end of the day, it is still taxpayers’ money that will be used to rebuild those facilities.
“So I want to appeal to the youths to get themselves arranged and be calm because anything at all you want to get from your government, you have to do it through dialogue. You don’t have to use force because using force, the government will also match their own force with your force and the resultant effect will be casualties.”
The chief security officer of Umueri community stressed that it was time youths stopped the carnage because people were no longer happy with the situation. He said youths have destroyed things that were acquired many years ago.
The traditional ruler said youths have destroyed police stations and other facilities across the nation and that such developments were illwind that blew no one any good.
He however commended Governor Willie Obiano for addressing the youths of Anambra state as well as urging them to calm their frayed nerves because their needs have been understood and would be channelled appropriately.
Igwe Emeka also emphasized that youths should be obedient and submissive to the laws of the land and allow government to act on their demands.
According to him, “So many of our youths are roaming the streets without jobs and every year Nigeria keeps on graduating more students without jobs. So it’s a dangerous thing. What they are doing now will make government to realise that all the graduates they are bringing out every year, if they have no jobs, at a time they will revolt against the leadership of the country.
“So the protest has actually helped government to sit back and actually know what the people want them to do for them.”
The traditional ruler further disclosed that he had a meeting with youths and vigilante groups in Umueri where he dissuaded them from joining other youths outside the community in causing mayhem. He also said that traditional rulers from Anambra-East jointly made a pronouncement that youths should maintain peace and allow government respond to their needs.
Vigilante groups from the entire Anambra-East local government area were also put on red alert to foil external aggressions as he pointed out that most of the youths who carried out vandalisation of public institutions were not indigenes of the council area.
Igwe Emeka opined that the youths have spoken and government has heard them loud and clear. He said any other demonstration will not urgur well for the country and that youths should allow government to look into their demands. He added that those who started EndSARS protest were not touts but somewhere along the line, hoodlums hijacked it and unleashed terror and mayhem on the society. He however sent out heartfelt commiserations and condolences to the families of those who lost their lives at the Lekki Toll Gate Shootings in Lagos, Anambra and across the nation, saying that the fallen youths have paid the price for a Nigeria where youths will occupy vantage position in critical decision-making, good governance and public administration.