Magnus Eze (Enugu), Romanus Ugwu, Okwe Obi, Fred Ezeh (Abuja), Lukman Olabiyi (Lagos),
Former governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has urged the Executive and Legislative arms of the government to make a national sacrifice of cutting down their salaries and allowances by 50 to 70 per cent as part of the measures to pacify the angry protesting youths.
Speaking in Abuja at the weekend, the senator representing Imo West Senatorial District in the 9th Assembly did not only confess but also warned that the lifestyle of most Nigerian leaders was provoking the youths, even as he argued that the allowances of senators is humongous as many Nigerians tend to believe.
Asked whether such sacrifice by the leaders should be part of the measures to pacify the protesting youths, Senator Okorocha noted that sacrificing some percentage of their incomes will convince and give the youths sense of belonging that the leaders have made sacrifice for their sake.
“As I speak to you as a senator, I have not received a dime as salary since I became a senator. The point I want to make is that if you look at the allowances given to the senators and break it down into accommodation, transportation among others, it is definitely not out of place.”
On its part, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has vowed to ensure that all those found culpable in the destruction of property and killing of innocent persons during the #EndSARS protests across the country face the full wrath of the law.
Chairman of APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, who made the vow, also warned youths to extricate themselves from the activities of the criminal elements who have hijacked the protests.
In a statement he issued and made available in Abuja, the party boss noted that APC is committed to the ideals of democracy and recognized the inalienable rights of citizens to demand for changes in conditions which trample on their liberties, freedom of association, freedom of speech and wellbeing through peaceful means and rule of law.
His word: “The APC is saddened by the unfortunate tragedy tha enveloped some parts of the country in the last few days, whereby hoodlums who took over what was supposed to be a peaceful protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
“APC, therefore, pleads with Nigerians to halt the #EndSARS protests for the collective corporate interest of our dear country. We have no other country than Nigeria. We acknowledge the peaceful commencement of the protests until it became violent, destructive and disorderly as hoodlums regrettably seized the opportunity in the protests and virtually took over.”
Sounding the same tone of reflection, Convener of South East 2023 Presidential Mandate, Benedict Onyewuenyi, urged protesting Nigerian youths to withdraw from the streets and re-strategize for the next general elections in 2023.
He advised them not to lose sleep over the impression that the speech by President Muhammadu Buhari regarding the EndSARS protest, particularly the killings at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos State, last Tuesday, did not meet their expectations.
Onyewuenyi in a statement in Enugu, yesterday, charged them to put their number to maximum use in the coming elections. He, however, implored them to eschew violence and prevent subversive elements from defining the essence of their dreams for a better tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has appealed to the aggrieved youths that are engaged in violent criminal acts to stop forthwith, and tow the path of peace, in order not to mar the noble cause being fought for, and for which some of them have already paid the supreme price.
The Bishops’ body, thus, called on government to take full responsibility for stabilising the country and restoring hope and confidence in its ability to lead Nigeria away from disaster.
It encouraged government to seek the best form of dialogue, so as to present to the nation, short, medium and long term solutions to the crisis. It also suggested that positive and progressive minds in the country, including members of the political parties not in government, the wider civil society, including the religious and traditional institutions and the youths themselves, should be engaged in a roundtable discussion, so that a way forward can be effectively charted.
CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, in a statement released yesterday, renewed the hope of the bishops in the future of a united, just and peaceful country, insisting that leaders must learn that Nigerians deserve and demand respect for their lives, dignity and rights.
In the same vein, Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has pleaded with the youths to embrace peace as the best means to drive home their demand for police reform and other sundry issues affecting the nation.
Adams, who extolled the rare determination and courage displayed by the youths in the last three weeks, said the Nigerian youths of today have written their names in gold for raising their voices against police brutality and standing up to fight against bad leadership.
He commiserated with the families of those that lost their loved ones in the course of the struggle, adding that those that fell to the bullets of the army will surely be remembered as heroes and they will always live in the minds of Nigerians forever because they had paid the supreme price for liberty and justice.
Commenting on those trying to put ethnic or tribal colourations to the wanton destructions of public properties in some parts of Lagos, Adams urged the purveyors of such misinformation to desist from spreading lies against the Igbo, adding that those hoodlums that engaged in the looting and destruction of public properties did that for their selfish end. He stressed that some of the Igbo in Lagos also lost their businesses and properties to the ugly incident.
President, National Council of Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Emmanuel Wike, in his reaction deplored the killing, looting and massive destruction of property by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest in the country.
Wike, who addressed newsmen yesterday in Abuja, said inasmuch as he agreed with the demands of the protesters, he faulted the dimension the agitation had taken and appealed to them stop.