Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state who is also the chairman of South East Govrnors Forum has appealed to Nigerian youths to forgive the country’s leaders, noting that the leaders had learnt valuable lessons from the nationwide protests.
Umahi, who made the appeal on Friday during an address to the people of the state, insisted that the country needed to move forward after the killings and destruction of valuable properties.
The governor urged the youths to particularly, forgive the unwarranted and regrettable shooting of unarmed protesters at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos, as the South-East leaders were pained over the incident.
“Our hearts go to the families of the deceased, and we enjoin the Federal and Lagos State Governments to quicken investigation into the incident. It was an act of the devil and the infrastructure being destroyed across the country are for you as leaders of the future.
“You need to be alive to actualise this future because some of you will be presidents, governors, lawmakers and ministers among others. No one lives on earth forever, so, we seek your forgiveness so that we will go back to the drawing board,” he said.
He urged state governments to draw youths closer to their administrations to enable them have a say in the scheme of things. “Youths should be brought closer to issues of budgeting, dynamics and difficulties of governance among others to enable us have a better society.
“I appeal to our people to withdraw from the #EndSARS protest because it is no longer a protest but an orchestrated violence with people imported from other states to destroy lives and properties,” he said.
Umahi appealed to leaders across Nigeria to do everything possible to maintain peace within their domains as those of the South-East will continue ensuring that everybody living within the zone is protected.
“This is a critical moment in the nation’s history and we cannot continue to see the critical private and public infrastructure we laboured to build being destroyed. Considering the dwindling revenue of the country, such infrastructure contribute greatly to the sustenance of the economy,” he said
In the same vein, the South East Human Rights Situation Room has appealed to the protesting youths in the zone to sheath their swords and embrace peace and dialogue. The group made the appeal in a statement signed by more than 20 members of the coalition and issued in Enugu on Friday.
“It is time to call our youths to sheath the sword and get to the dialogue table. That is what can solve this problem, and not destruction of lives and property. We should all rise for peaceful resolution. We are disturbed by the rate of protests, killings and destruction of property in the South-East zone, particularly in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states.
“The zone has been overwhelmed by hoodlums, under the guise of protesting. What have we gained from the protests other than destruction of our own property and our age-long monuments?
“Virtually all parts of the zone have been shut down, following the activities of hoodlums, who have hidden under the banner of #EndSARS to unleash mayhem on the citizens. Several structures put in place by the government and banks have been destroyed by these rampaging youth.
“Let the protesters hand down their tools or we shall experience more deaths of our youths. We need peace; we need dialogue,” the group said.
They, however, urged governments at all levels to dialogue and negotiate with the youth, especially on ways of ending police brutality in the country.