The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has appealed to the youth of the Niger Delta region to shun violence and embrace peace in the wake of the nationwide #EndSARS protests.
Akpabio, who led a Federal Government delegation to Uyo, Akwa Ibom, made the appeal at the stakeholders’ conference comprising the youth in Uyo on Saturday.
He said that he was saddened by the violence that was caused by hoodlums, who hijacked the #EndSARS protests to cause wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties.
The minister called on Niger Delta youths to shun acts capable of truncating the peace in the region, while urging the youth to embrace programmes and policies rolled out by the President aimed at addressing the challenges of the region.
The Nation reported that Akpabio, who was accompanied by other government officials from the state including Senior Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, said they were in Akwa Ibom at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking, the minister urged youths of the state to embrace peace as President Buhari was committed to meeting their demands with regard to police reforms.
Akpabio mentioned that the FG was doing a lot in terms of job creation and development of key economic infrastructure in the state and the Niger Delta region.
He asked youths of the state to take advantage of social and economic job intervention programmes of the FG, adding that the Buhari administration is desirous of combating poverty and unemployment in the country.
Akpabio said the #EndSARS protest was capable of scaring away existing and expected investors with the negative economic effects on the state and the region.
He commended Governor Udom Emmanuel and other governors for setting up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to address concerns of victims of SARS brutality, adding that the FG was ready to work with governors to achieve justice for victims.
The Minister urged all those who have lost their properties in the Thursday carnage to channel their petitions to the judicial commission of enquiry.
The Minister said, “We have gone round and seen the level of destruction in the state, it is a sordid sight. People were working in all these places they destroyed. This is very sad and regrettable. This must stop. I am constrained to address you on the #EndSARS protests which started peacefully but turned into mayhem and criminality.
“The Federal Government is very serious in addressing the yearnings of the proper #EndSARS protesters but condemned the wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties. The youth should know that they are the leaders of tomorrow and should not cut short their life through criminality.
“We are appealing to the youth to cease the protest and come to the table and go into dialogue. We are very proud of our youths.”
In the same vein, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Sen. Ita Enang, condemned the wanton destruction of lives and properties by miscreants under the guise of the “EndSARS. He urged the youth of the region to maintain the peace and avoid any destruction of public or private property.
Enang urged all those with genuine complaints to avail themselves of the Judicial Committee of Inquiry to address them.