The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has addressed citizens of the state following widespread violence, looting and arson that were perpetuated in the state capital after a peaceful #endsars protest was allegedly hijacked by criminals and hoodlums.
In his statewide broadcast titled “Let there be peace”, Governor Emmanuel expressed sympathy with victms of the carnage that was metted on them by rogue elements who infiltrates the rank of protesters to cause mayhem.
#ENDSARS: Gov Emmanuel Addresses Protesters, Call For Community Policing
” Let me therefore on behalf of the Government and people of Akwa Ibom State express my deepest sympathies to all the victims of the #EndSARS protests all over the country, especially our citizens in Akwa Ibom State who yesterday were brutalized by hoodlums pretending to be protesters.
He stated that Akwa Ibom State, which has been an ally in every developmental effort in the country, the cradle of peace and stability, and the nest of hope for a better Nigeria, became a victim of a coordinated and premeditated attack by hoodlums and criminals, adding that these vandals came in the guise of #EndSARS protesters and exploited same to put a stain on our State and commit atrocious crimes.
He drew comparison between the peaceful #EndSARS protests and violence caused by hoodlums, saying while “#EndSARS is an attempt to stop terror. These vandals came to spread terror. EndSARS wants to stop the brutalization of citizens. These vandals brutalized the good, working people of Akwa Ibom State. EndSARS is about stopping extortion and stealing. These vandals stole and looted. #EndSARS is about peace and constitutionality. These vandals committed arson and horrendous crimes’.
According to him, the State government had responded swiftly by convening an Emergency State Executive Council Meeting (EXCO) where, among other resolutions, a Judicial Panel of Investigation headed by the retired Justice Ifiok Ukana was set up long before unlawful elements masquerading as protesters took the laws into their hands and attacked citizens and destroyed some private and public property.
As a result, government immediately imposed a State-wide curfew on Thursday from 9pm to 12noon Friday which was further extended to 7am Saturday.
The governor said this was necessitated by the desire of government to exercise its primary responsibility of protecting the citizens and their property.
“Let me commend our youths for the patriotism and resilience they displayed in the protection and defence of our private and Government assets. You all deserve our eternal gratitude and appreciation. You have by such display of fidelity to your State, proved that you are partners in the collective growth and development of our dear State.
“Our youths are peaceful, they love their State, the progress we have made so far with the resources available to us, and I know I can count on you to continue to defend our State and all that we stand for”.
He therefore tasked youths to give peace a chance while promising to continue engaging the youth productively, through job creation and other employment opportunities.
” In the next few weeks, we will commence our bold high level skilled training employment programme tagged “Ibom 3000 Project” which will train Akwa Ibom youths, 3000 per quarter and 3000 per Senatorial Districts in the following sectors: Oil and Gas, ICT, Agriculture and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. The trainings will prepare our youths for over 1,000 jobs that will be created in the Oil and Gas Free Zone and other job opportunities in the ICT and e-commerce sector.
“Also, My Entrepreneurship Goals Programme (MEGP-Batch 111) will start next week, which is another bold and decisive step taken by Government to provide needed education and skills in entrepreneurship so our youths may use the skills acquired to create job for themselves. We hope our youths will avail themselves of these great opportunities.”