…Okowa Commends Delta Youths Over Peaceful Protests, Urges Opinion Leaders To Appeal For Calm, Leave The Streets.
By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe Esq.
Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, has again commended #EndSars protesters in the state for their maturity and responsible behaviour, urging them to ensure that their legitimate protest is not messed up by criminal elements from outside the state.
He made the commendation in a state broadcast on Thursday October 22, in swift reaction to destruction of some government properties, as well as the burning of the Asaba office of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC.
The 48 hours curfew which was announced during the broadcast by the governor earlier today Thursday, has commenced in Delta State, from 6pm and residents are advised to adhere strictly to the governor’s directives by staying at home, all businesses closed and no academic activities throughout the period.
Okowa noted that security reports revealed that some persons who are not Deltans, were responsible for the unfortunate arson and urged youths in the state to protect government properties built with tax payers money, adding that the curfew is meant to serve as a panacea to hoodlums hijacking the legitimate process, so as not to give the genuine protesters bad names.
The governor who from the outset aligned with the demands of genuine protesting youths, said peaceful protest is a constitutional right of citizens and a valid means of making legitimate demands on governments, and as such, nobody has the right to neither prevent citizens from protesting nor suppress the voice of our youths.
He implored the youths to give peace a chance as their demands are already being addressed by federal and state governments across the country.
Okowa also appealed to social media influencers, community mobilizers, traditional and religious leaders to lend their voices in the nation’s quest for peace while at the same time resolving the backlog of vexed issues and demands of protesters, adding that “we must right the wrongs of the past and ensure that never again shall our youths be ignored and neglected by those saddled with the responsibility of providing adequate security and welfare.
“In all my communications with you in the last two weeks, I have consistently maintained that the #ENDSARS protest is a laudable one that has drawn national attention and outcry to the brutalities Nigerians, particularly the youths, have endured in the hands of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
“The nation heard your voices loud and clear, and all that now remains is for both the national and sub-national governments to take appropriate remedial measures, which includes embarking on total and comprehensive reform of the Nigerian Police and our governance systems.
“It does appear that the #ENDSARS protest has been hijacked by some misguided and opportunistic elements. This sad situation threatens to plunge the state into chaos and anarchy.
“Your cause is just and we agree, but as a state it is the responsibility of all of us to defend our state and we do not want unscrupulous elements, many of whom have come from other states, to destroy that which every one of us has laboured for.
“From all intelligence reports, the people who caused the crisis of Wednesday night are not from Delta State, but the opportunities of the protests have given rise to this,” he added.
The governor also announced the closure of public and private primary and secondary schools in the state until Nov. 2, 2020.
Okowa stated that following the directive of the National Economic Council, he had inaugurated a Judicial Panel of Enquiry to investigate cases of police brutality in the State, and had also set up a Victims Support Fund.
He expressed confidence that justice would be served and that grieving families would be able to have succour when the panel concluded its work.
He appealed to the youths to remain calm, laws abiding and give peace a chance.