Mr Akin Ricketts, Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority, has decried the wanton destructions and looting of government, corporate and private properties in Calabar by hoodlums in the pretext of EndSARS protesters.
Over 35 properties including the state and federal government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), banks, hotels, police stations, health institutions, shops, and homes of some prominent political figures, among others, were vandalised between Oct. 23rd and 24th.
Chief Ricketts, who was a former Commissioner for Information in the state during the administration of ex-governor Liyel Imoke, said while the youth have the rights to protest, the hijack of the hitherto peaceful protests by criminal elements was unacceptable and should be condemned.
In a statement issued on Monday in Calabar, Ricketts said governments at different levels are beginning to make firm commitments to address the issues of police brutality and good governance which was what the EndSARS protests sought to achieve.
He, therefore, charged the Cross River youth to embrace dialogue as an option and to challenge hoodlums that took to the destruction of public and private infrastructure.
The NPA Chairman said as a concerned citizen of Cross River, stakeholders needed to rally round support for the state and mobilise to put a stop to such destruction of public and private properties in Calabar, which is known for its hospitality.
“It was unfortunate that some hoodlums in Calabar took turns to visit homes of prominent political leaders and stakeholders as well as premises of public and private businesses to unleash unwarranted attacks on and steal valuable items from them.
“That was not what the original EndSARS protesters were clamouring for.
“The Federal Government has made a firm commitment to addressing the issues of police brutality and good governance which was what the EndSARS protests sought to achieve.
“If they start pulling down critical structures of this nature where do we then expect the government to get the funds to meet their demands and the eventual expected reconstruction?
“The youths should embrace dialogue as an option instead of taking to the destruction of critical government institutions and private properties,” the statement said.
He called on youths and all other critical stakeholders in Cross River to rise and mobilise to put a stop to the reoccurrence of all forms of social vices in the state.
“We need the support of everyone to do this and we should encourage the government to succeed,” he added.
Ricketts said he would liaise with critical stakeholders in the state to address the issues raised by the youth in Cross River, adding that he was sad of the turnout of events in the state.
“I will endeavour in my capacity as Chairman of NPA to liaise with the state government, former Governors, National Assembly members and Ministers past and present to create an atmosphere of dialogue to address most of the issues raised by the youths.
“My heart bled at the wanton destruction,” he said.(NAN)