• PANDEF seeks end to wanton destruction of property in states
Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere and its Igbo counterpart, Ohanaeze yesterday asked security agents to fish out those who destroyed private and public properties in Lagos and prosecute them.
Also, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) lamented the wanton destruction of public and private assets perpetrated in some cities, mainly, across the southern part of the country, in the last four days, by misguided and unscrupulous individuals who hijacked the #EndSARS youth protests.
The socio-cultural groups also, canvassed an end to the burning and destruction of private and public assets by hoodlums in Lagos State in separate statements.
In a joint statement titled “Say No to Wilful Destruction,” Afenifere and Ohaneze said the blood of the youths killed “will pursue their killers and those who ordered them to the gate of justice.”
The statement, which Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti and President of Ohaneze, Chief John Nwodo, lamented that one of the fallouts of the massacre was the looting and burning spree all over the city.
The statement noted that Afenifere and Ohaneze “will not endorse arson as responsible organizations and therefore called for a stop of the orgies.
“The leaders of Afenifere and Ohanaeze jointly commiserate with all the families who lost dear ones in the Tuesday bloody massacre in Lekki, Lagos.
“We have also noted the divisive attempt to use the violence to put a wedge between Yoruba and Igbo and destroy the new understanding we have built in the last 3 years.
“We reject this devilish attempt and ask the police to investigate and arraign suspected perpetrators of the violence. The essence of law and order is for individual citizens to answer for their actions.
“It is where law enforcement is weak that you begin to cast ethnic slur when crimes are committed instead of holding the perpetrators accountable,” the statement said.
He, thus, appealed to the peoples of Lagos “to continue to live together in peace and harmony and not allow divisive elements to put a wedge between them. Solidarity forever.”
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon Ken Robinson yesterday, the forum described the destruction of property as senseless, horrible, said it could not comprehend the motives for the carnage.
It appealed to those behind the actions to rethink, and stop any further destruction of property, immediately, in the interest of common good.
PANDEF also said it found it difficult to fathom the intent for the aloofness of the police and other security agents, in most cases, while the barbaric acts were being perpetrated.
The group further expressed concern at the unfortunate situations whereby foodstuffs meant to be distributed to vulnerable citizens as COVID-19 palliatives, remain stocked in warehouses, and are now being discovered and looted in some states.
It insisted that the reasons put forward by officials of government on why the items were still kept in warehouses, while many Nigerians are languishing in hunger, are untenable and ridiculous.
It said: ”The #EndSARS protesters had genuine grievances and, constitutionally, and democratically right, to express their frustrations in peaceful protests. The stories of extortion, harassment, brutality and even extrajudicial killings by some officials of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are not fabricated; they are true stories. The rogue former SARS officials are known, and their victims or families of victims are also known.
”President Muhammadu Buhari should have quickly addressed the young people, with a fatherly countenance, to assuage their justified anger; instead of the option of deploying the military, police and hired thugs to attack and assault the peaceful protesters, which aggravated the situation. Now, what do we have? Untold destruction of lives and property of innocent citizens.
”It is instructive to note that a good number of the country’s population is perturbed and angry with the way and manner affairs of state are being conducted, and therefore, governments at all levels must urgently amend their approaches to governance, and make the wellbeing of citizens utmost priority. Otherwise, the present situations could implode into a national crisis; the outcome of which nobody can truly predict.”