Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Members of the Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) have added their voices to the call on the Federal Government to exercise restraint in it’s ploy to clamp down on the social media, describing the move as another attempt to gag citizens.
The group said government should rather focus its energy towards addressing the various challenges of unemployment, corruption, infrastructure decay, violent crimes, high cost of living, inequality and hopelessness among other issues thrown up by the recent #EndSARS protest.
The publishers made their position known in a communique issued at the end of an audience participatory forum with theme ‘Aftermath of #EndSARS Protest: The Way Forward’ organised by DOPF in Asaba.
According to the communique which was made available to our correspondent, DOPF said government was being hypocritical to be placating Nigerians with judicial panel of inquiries while at the same time, secretly hounding down perceived promoters of the #EndSARSV movement.
“It is wrong for the government to launch a fresh onslaught against #EndSARS protesters, campaigners, proponents, sympathizers, promoters and those who provided survival package to the protesters, freezing their accounts and scapegoat others who are being secretly harass and horded in jail while placating Nigerians with judicial panels of inquiries.
“The development amount to double-speak and highly hypocritical of the government of the day in Nigeria,” it stated.
It however vehemently condemned the burning and destruction of properties and looting of goods and relief materials in some cities across the country by hoodlums and other low elements of the society during the protest, saying that such action were not only barbaric, but insane and inexcusable.
The group lamented the “situation where Nigerians, particularly the youths had to grapple with economic and infrastructural deficiency even as a larger population groan under the weight of economic retrogression, while the privilege few live in affluence and pride themselves as centurions of modern day leaders in Nigeria.
“The #EndSARS protest became a metaphor of generational failure by government resulting to faulty electoral system, maladministration, official malfeasance, bribery and corruption, hostage taking, terrorism, banditry and general insecurity.
“There must be an attitudinal change from the home front, and larger society,” decrying a situation “where Nigerians leverage on every giving situation to inflate and increase prices of good and service. That EndSARS should start with the common man.”
The audience participatory programme had in attendance representatives of the Delta State Government, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Civil Society Organisations, Department of States Security (DSS), Non-Governmental Organisations, National Association of Polytechnic Students, NAPS, Delta Youth Parliamentarians, among others, according to the communique jointly signed by the chairman of DOPF, Emmanuel Enebeli; Chukwudi Abiandu and Joe Ogbodu, chairman and secretary, respectively of the planning committee.