The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi has urged the youths not to allow themselves to be used to subvert security and cause anarchy in the country.
Magashi made the call at a stakeholders meeting on peacebuilding in Kano on Saturday.
He said that the call was imperative towards promoting peace in the state and country at large.
Magashi said: “In the last two weeks; the country witnessed demonstrations by youths protesting the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) under the #EndSARS.
“The demonstration is largely peaceful at the initial stage until hijacked by hoodlums and subversive elements, which led to the loss of lives and the destruction of public and private property.
“Innocent people sustained injuries, a situation which paralysed social and economic activities in parts of the country.”
According to him, Nigerian Constitution recognises the rights of the citizens to express their grievances through peaceful process which includes demonstration.
Magashi noted that the government promptly responded to the demands of the protesters, including the immediate dissolution of the SARS and set up judicial panels in the 36 states to investigate the alleged police brutality.
“We have also witnessed how the situation degenerated into ethnoreligious and political crisis.
“As a result of these ugly developments; the citizen are 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.
“We also want to remind us that the sovereignty and unity of our country are sacrosanct and non-negotiable,” he said.
Magashi also called on the youths to shun negative sentiments and biases capable of threatening national security.
He said the country was facing challenges of banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and Boko Haram insurgency among others.
The minister stressed the need for collective sacrifice to support government effort to preserve and protect the sanctity of the nation.
“We are all critical stakeholders, therefore, we must do everything possible to ensure that there is peace and stability in our state and Nigeria at large.”
Also speaking, Rev. Adeolu Adeyemo, Chairman, Kano State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), commended the state government in ensuring peace and stability in the state.
Adeyemo said the association had preached peace and admonished its members to shun violence and acts capable of disrupting peace in the state.
“We will continue to practice peace in Kano State and Nigeria.”
On his part, the Chief Imam of Kano State, Prof. Sani Zahradeen, called on the people to contribute toward peacebuilding process.
Zaharadeen, said Islamic clerics preach peace in their sermon and enjoined youths to eschew violence and be law-abiding citizens.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the forum was attended by Alhaji Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, AIG Abubakar Bello, in charge of Zone 1 Kano, Commissioner of Police, Mr Habu Sani, and heads of other sister security agencies in the state.
Others were representatives of development organisations and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) among others.