By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Cross River State National Assembly Caucus and other stakeholders have appealed for the restoration of peace in the state to stop the escalation of the destruction of government and private businesses by hoodlums.
In a statement titled “an Appeal for restoration of peace” issued in Calabar yesterday signed by the leader of Causus, Senator Gershom Bassey, “we are bound by the collective obligation to protect and defend Calabar and every part of Cross River State against criminal elements and other enemies of ou dear state”.
The statement said “your voices have been heard loud and clear, let’s give peace a chance and be patient with government”.
It said ” we, the distinguished Senators and honourable members of the National Assembly,Cross River State causus lend our collective voices in appeal to your good conscience to stand by government as it restores law and order and puts an end to the ugly incidents perpetrated against government, private businesses and individuals by elements”.
It could be recalled that the protests by Nigerian youths in different parts of the country started as a peaceful demonstration calling for the ban of the anti robbery squad of the Nigerian police force.
The youths also sought “an end to police brutality and a commitment to good governance by the Nigerian government, the statement added”.
It quoted the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria section 40 of 1999 which recognizes the right of every Nigerian citizen to assemble freely and associate with other person’s”.
“Therefore, the protest and its objectives were warranted, justified and we reach out a hand of solidarity to the#EndSars cause. However, the recent degeneration añd commandeering of th protest by hoodlums and criminal elements, are regrettable and purported to taint an otherwise well intended purpose”.
The statement said ” the characteristics trademark of Cross River State is as an oasis of peace and the Peoples’ Paradise, indigenous to a people known for tolerance and love for on another as well as others. This is our heritage and our priceless gains that have earned us a unique identity, admired by other parts of the country. We cannot give it up to the sheer exhilaration of the enemies of our state. We cannot allow those who do not wish us well, to destroy our coveted patrimony”.
“We regret the sad incidents of Looting,vandalism and wants n destruction of several government, private and individual properties in Calabar that occurred between the night of Friday 23 and Sunday 25th, October 2020. The undertone of this negative occurrance,, sought to criminalise the good people of our state. This is why we are calling on all well meaning Cross Riverians to stand up henceforth to protect and defend Calabar and Cross River State from hoodlums who are on a rampage, in a hopeless attempt to give us a bad image”.
The statement said “with broken hearts, we identify and sympathise with the government of Cross River State over the needless destruction of Federal and state-owned properties,as wel as private properties during the chaos “.
Those affected include, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Prince Bassey Otu and Hillard Etta. Others are many elder statesmen and women, Calabar market women, some members of the National Assembly Causus as well as members of the public”.
The statement however thanked the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade, for his response and the steps taken to avert further looting and destruction in our capital city, Calabar, by criminal elements during the unforrnate incidents last week.
The statement, therefore, appealed to our dear youths, elders, political leaders, religious leaders and traditional institutions for amore constructive and proactive approach to reach an understanding and the resolution that violence is not only a threat to a functional society but clouds cogent and justified objectives, impedes on the pace of addressing the initial grievances expressed through peaceful protest and compounds the financial cost on tax payers with the refurbishment of government properties and curbing insecurity within the state”.
“As members of the National Assembly Causus, we pledge to become more vocal and responsive to issues that affect the well-being of our nation and our dear state. We will join hands with the Cross River State government, security agencies within the state and our country at large to proffer lasting solutions that will seek to ensure that the events of the past weekend never ever occurs in our dear state again, the statement added”.