Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The Speaker Taraba State House of Assembly Dr Joseph Albasu Kunini, on Wednesday, urged youths in the country to not resort to violence but to embrace dialogue as a way of finding lasting solutions to their demands.
Kunini, who made the call in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, condemned Tuesday night’s killing of protesters at Lekki Toll Gate by men suspected to be from the Nigerian Army and said that everyone in the country is aware that things have gone bad and wishes for a positive change.
The Speaker said that young Nigerians have made their demands heart and have won the sympathy and respect of most Nigerians, but that resorting to violent demonstrations will only end up jeopardising their efforts and what they have been able to accomplish so far.
‘ feel saddened by the news of the killing of innocent protesters at the Lekki toll gate last night. We must understand that life is sacrosanct and we must always try to protect it at all cost. Haven said that there is no doubt that the youth have genuine agitations. No one can deny that. We are all aware that things are not the way they should be. We all have better dreams for our country. For the first time, the youth have genuinely aired their voices and I want to strongly believe that the message is loud and clear. We need a better country where things work the right way and the rights of citizens are respected. There is no doubt that this message has sunk deeply where it is needed to.
‘However, I am worried [about] the violent dimensions the whole protest is taking. It is worrisome. Why ruin such an articulate presentation with violence? Violence can only do more damage than good. Now the youth enjoy the goodwill of most Nigerians. That will not be the case once these protests turn violent. Ordinary people would be made to suffer the brunt of it. The gains they have made so far will all be lost as most of their supporters would inevitably turn foes.
‘It is, therefore, pertinent for the youth to embrace constructive dialogue with the relevant authorities to ensure that their demands are met and we begin the process of putting in place a system that would work for the good of all the people and block all the conduit pipes through which our common patrimony is syphoned for the good of a selected few,’ he said.
Kunini insisted that Nigeria is at a point where a nationwide unrest would not do anyone any good but further stall development and bring even more hardship on the people while preparing the ground for a ride in crime rate in the society.
‘Insecurity is already rife in the country. In Taraba, you are aware that despite the enormous efforts of the State Governor in combating crime in collaboration with the security agencies in the State, it has not been easy. Imagine if we allow anarchy and chaos to take further hold of the State. It will be very bad for everybody. Unfortunately, this is our national reality as no section of the country enjoys immunity from insecurity. We must not allow the situation to deteriorate further,’ Kunini pleaded.