From Mustapha Adamu, Kano
The Minister of Defence, Major General, Bashir Magashi (Retd), and that of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono have said that the activities of #EndSARS protesters in the country have ridiculed and battered Nigeria’s image in the comity of nations.
In a joint speech at The Kano Stakeholders Peace Talks, held at Meena Events Centre in Kano over the weekend, the ministers said that the disruption of socio-economic activities, loss of lives, arson and vandalism during the protests were unwarranted.
According to the ministers, considering the speed with which 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, the protests should not have turned violent.
They lamented that the activities of the protesters, which include burning national flag and destroying public and private properties had dented the image of the country abroad.
“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 to their respective states to compliment the efforts of the states 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 will like to remind you, we are all critical stakeholders and therefore we must do everything possible to ensure that there is peace and stability in our state and Nigeria at large,” they said.
The ministers maintained that the sovereignty and unity of Nigeria are sacrosanct and non-negotiable, appealing to the youth to avoid all negative sentiments and biases that are capable of threatening national security.
“ Let us further draw your attention to the fact that all of us are Nigerians and we have no other country than Nigeria. Therefore, all efforts towards archiving peaceful co-existence and protection of all citizens’ rights are our collective responsibility.
They reminded that the country is facing the challenges of banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and boko haram insurgency, which resulted to loss of lives and properties, stressing that “we should not allow the security situation to degenerate to anarchy, as government is putting in resources to preserve and protect the sanctity of the nation.”