#ENDSARS: SOUTH EAST REP CAUCUS FROWNS AT ETHNICISATION OF PROTESTS, CALLS FOR CALM

The South East Caucus of the House of Representatives expresses sadness over the events of the recent days, especially the violence and killings perpetrated against peaceful protesters. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and our condolences go to their loved ones. We demand that the perpetrators of these dastardly acts are identified and brought to justice.

We condemn the wanton destruction of properties and businesses, including the palaces of our revered royal fathers. Such should have no place in a civilised and democratic society.

We equally express our collective displeasure at the attacks on law enforcement officers and police formations, bearing in mind that demoralising the police as an institution and destroying available security infrastructure would only put the society at greater risks and equally defeat the altruistic purposes that underlined the EndSARS protests in the first place.

This opportunity to undertake a homerun of the challenges and imperfections of police and policing as well as their effects on the citizens, including the police themselves, should not be frittered away on the alter of needless violence and destruction of lives and properties, including attacks on the police.

We need the police as much as the police need us. They are fellow Nigerians entitled to all the rights, including the right to life, bestowed on Nigerian citizens by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution. Agreed that there are bad eggs in the security forces, who have committed grievous atrocities against Nigerians and the state, it is not within our rights to reduce ourselves to the same wrong and anarchic conducts we protest against by meting out jungle justice on them or any fellow citizen. As a civilised society guided by the rule of law, we must work with the panels set up by various states and federal authorities to fish out and met out justice to lawless security operatives in accordance with extant laws of the land.

We denounce in totality and completely dissociate ourselves and the South East region, which we represent, from any attempts to paint the struggle for better security services and good governance in tribal colours or sentiments.

While we strongly condemn the unfortunate hijack of the EndSARS protests by anarchists and agents of destabilisation, the protests must, nevertheless, be seen for what they are: a patriotic, altruistic, and peaceful assembly by Nigerian youths of all geopolitical zones and religious and political persuasions seeking an end to police brutality and making a clarion demand for a better deal from Nigeria and those they put in offices by the power of their ballots.

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We frown at the attempt by any individual or group, who do not wish Nigeria well, to appropriate these laudable demands and weaponise the struggle for selfish and egotistic ends in an effort to destabilise the nation.

Likewise, attempts to associate the events of the past few days with ethno-political struggles or pin them on a particular region or ethnic, religious, and political group miss the mark. It is indeed a great disservice, if not a huge threat to the Federal Republic and her peaceful and corporate existence.

We must refrain from our age-long habit of raising the red flags of ethnicity and other primordial sentiments whenever we have an opportunity to deal with issues that retard the nation. Once the temporary aphrodisiac effects are gone, we would only realise that we still live with the same problems, most probably in their worse mutation.

We are committed to true federalism where every Nigerian enjoys equal rights and opportunity wherever he or she finds himself and where nobody’s life, personal property or business are endangered and subjected to wanton destruction.

We, therefore, urge all Nigerians and the government to join hands to remedy the heartrending, immediate aftermaths of the hijack of peaceful protests by hoodlums and to address the systemic weaknesses and cogent issues raised by the Nigerian youth. Constructive engagement is the 21st century culture. History also teaches us that while crackdowns may extract temporary retreat, they ultimately midwife future violence.

Also, having made their voices heard loudly and clearly, we plead with the youths to embrace dialogue with various levels of government in addressing the weaknesses in the system identified by the EndSARS protests. It is the best route to maximising the millage they have covered by the protests.

We must use this moment to prove that this federation has the capacity to counsel and remedy itself. Mr. President must show more leadership and must not miss this opportunity to reform policing and governance to meet the expectations of the citizens.

While condoling with those who lost loved ones and properties in the unfortunate disturbances, we earnestly pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of our compatriots and healing for the wounded. We equally pray God heal our land.

SIGNED

Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha
Hon. Ossy Prestige
Hon. Hon. Uko Ndukwe
Hon. Solomon Adaelu
Hon. Benjamin Kalu
Hon. Samuel Onuigbo
Hon. Nkem Uzoma
Hon. Darlington Nwokocha

Hon. Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu
Hon. Chukwuka Onyema
Hon. Chris Azubogu
Hon. Dozie Nwankwo
Hon. Ifeanyi Momah
Hon. Obinna Chidoka
Hon. Vincent Ofumelu
Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe
Hon. Chinedu Onwuaso
Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji
Hon. Okwuduili Ezenwankwo

Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga
Hon. Iduma Igariwey
Hon. Chinedu Ogar
Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku
Hon. Livinus Makwe
Hon. Edwin Anayo

Hon. Patrick Asadu
Hon. Toby Okechukwu
Hon. Denis Amadi
Hon. Nnoli Nnaji
Hon. Ofor Chukwuegbo
Hon. Oke Martins
Hon. Simon Atigwe
Hon. Cornelius Nnaji

Hon. Jerry Alagboso
Hon. Bede Eke
Hon. Henry Nwanwuba
Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo
Hon. Mariam Onuoha
Hon. Pascal Obi
Hon. Ikenna Elezianya
Hon. Emeka Chinedu
Hon. Chike Okafor
Hon. Kingsley Uju

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