By Bashir Bello – Kano
The Minister of Defence, Major General, Bashir Magashi (Retd), and his counter, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono has on Saturday called on protesters not to allow protest and security situation degenerate to anarchy.
They reminded the protesters that they are all Nigerians and have no other country than Nigeria hence.
Magashi and Nanono in a joint address made the call during a stakeholders peace talks towards ensuring peacebuilding organized in Kano State on Saturday.
They said, “in the last two weeks or so the country witnessed demonstrations by youths protesting the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS under the #EndSARS.
The demonstration was largely peaceful at the initial stage until it was hijacked by hoodlums and subversive elements which led to the loss of lives and the destruction of public and private properties as well as injuries sustained by innocent people, leading to a situation which paralyzed socio-economic activities in some part of the country.
“Notably, the Nigerian Constitution recognizes the rights of the citizens to express their grievances through a peaceful process which includes a demonstration.
You will agree with us, however, that what the country witnessed in the last few days in the form of disruption of socio-economic activities, lost of lives, arson and vandalism were unwarranted, considering the speed with which the government responded to the demands of the youths which include immediate dissolution of the SARS and directing the setting up of the judicial panels in all the states to investigate the alleged police brutality.
“We have also witnessed how the situation degenerated into an ethnoreligious and political crisis. As a result of all these ugly developments, the citizen of this country is suffering a lot and the country’s image abroad is being ridiculed and battered including burning of the national flag.
Another fallout of the crisis has been the manifestation of fake news and hate speech which has further heated the polity.
Consequently, the situation necessitated His Excellency, the President to address the nation during which he called for an end to the demonstration to give peace a chance as well as to enable the government to respond to other demands of the youths.
“In furtherance of the efforts to consolidate the peace process, members of the Federal Executive Council were mandated to go back to their respective states to complement the efforts of the state government towards restoring normalcy. It is for this reason that we are here with you today to rub minds and to collectively chart the way forward.
“We also want to remind us that the sovereignty and unity of our country are sacrosanct and non-negotiable. We are therefore appealing to you to avoid all negative sentiments and biases that are capable of threatening national security. Let me further draw your attention to the fact that all of us are Nigerians and we have no other country than Nigeria.
“It is also important to know that this country is facing the challenges of banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, and Boko Haram insurgency and we are aware of the loss of lives and property these have brought to parts of the country.
We should not allow the security situation to degenerate to anarchy, as the government is putting in resources to preserve and protect the sanctity of the nation.
“Another area of concern is the issue of covid-19 which is a global pandemic that is taking it toll on the socio-economic fabric of the nation.
A lot of jobs has been lost, capital eroded and a lot of processes and projects that are germane to national development have been truncated leading to stagnation and frustration in the country as a such all hands must be on deck to facilitate speedy recovery from these unfortunate situations.
“In the face of the aforementioned, we are all critical stakeholders and therefore we must do everything possible to ensure that there is peace bad stability in our state and Nigeria at large,” they however stated.
The Chairman, Kano Peace Committee, Prof. Ibrahim Umar applauded Kano State for been peaceful and for not towing the violent line of other states.
In their separate remarks, the Kano State Chief Imam, Professor Sani Zahradeen, and his counterpart, Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Adeolu Adeyemo said their sermon in the mosque and churches have centered around preaching peace to the youths in order not to have broken down of law and order in the state.