Catholic knights on the aegis of Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria, APKMN, have called on the federal government to come out loud and clear on the demands of ENDSARS protesters, particularly the cutting down drastically on the cost of governance which it said, leaves little or nothing left for the welfare of the people and for infrastructural development.
It said the protest had showed clearly that “the so called poverty alleviation,Trader Moni and or other initiatives never really got to their intended people.”
APKMN, in a statement by its National President, Dame Esther Uduehi, and National Secretary, Vrenzak Dawap, urged government at all levels to look into all the issues that the Catholic Bishops had raised in their various submissions to them and address them accordingly for the good of the nation.
The statement read: “Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigerian (CBCN) had envisaged and warned and severally advised government of the possible impending dangers regarding the negligence of the welfare and feelings of the people, especially the youths who are our leaders of tomorrow.
“At the commencement of the ENDSARS protest, it again drew the attention of government to its earlier advice and warnings that “the ENDSARS protest is a microcosm of the fundamental governance problems” and the many maladies that need urgent, drastic, and practical policy attention. This too ended unattended to.
“If the authorities of governance had acted promptly and paid serious attention to ENDSARS protest the subsequent violent build up would have been averted. Also, a responsive forward looking and caring government would have deployed security agents to monitor the protests not only to protect the protesters but to prevent the hijacking of the protest by hoodlums and by self-centered persons for sinister personal gains or reasons.
“As Knights of the Catholic Church, we are saddened by this ugly event, especially the extreme use of force on the unarmed protesting youths, who are our children and future leaders of the country and engaging in a peaceful legitimate and democratic protest.
“Most disturbing, pathetic and callous is the fact that they were carrying the national flag and singing the national anthem. There was no evidence of violence in the action of the youths that were peacefully demonstrating at the Lekki Toll Gate. Any perceived violence must have taken place after the killing.
“Why the use of live bullets on the unarmed-youths? No civilized government uses live ammunition to quell any peaceful protest of her children.
“The association is bewildered and disappointed that for about two weeks when the legitimate protest started about the 7th of October 2020, the president could only speak on the threatening issue on 22nd October 2020.
“The silence and content of his delayed speech tends to give the impression that he is not a listening elected president who does not care about the lives and welfare of the people much less the murdered youths.
“A caring and listening government would have observed, from the enshrined demands that the issues raised by the youths go beyond merely scrapping SARS, which had happened before, without tackling the underlying issue and would have taken action to timely assuage the protesting youths.
“If truth must be told, we say that now that hoodlums, sponsored or hired, have taken advantage of the legitimate protest to hijack the meritorious protests that have loudly and clearly registered its points, we call on all the youths to sheath their swords and await the reactions of the various governments.
“It is all Nigerians, including the protesters and the hijacking hoodlums that have to bear the burden of the consequential destruction or damages of public properties arising from any public protest. The cost of reconstruction or replacement which would have been used for additional or further development would have to come from public fund owned by all of us, the tax payers.
“We therefore strongly appeal to all protesters, hoodlums or anyone for that matter to desist from destruction of property, public or personal, no matter the course of the protest.
.”We are constrained to call on all government, particularly the Federal Government, to come out “loud and clear” on all the demands made by the #ENDSARS protesters Amongst others it require cutting down drastically on the cost of governance which leaves little or nothing left for the Welfare of the people and for infrastructural development,
“The protest has shown clearly that the so called Poverty Alleviation,Trader Moni and or other initiatives never really got to their intended people. We call on the Federal Government and all the Governments to use this opportunity to look into all the issues that the Catholic Bishops have raised in their various submissions to them and address them according for the good of the Nation.”