A former zonal coordinator of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), for Delta, Edo and Rivers states, Hon. Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, has called on Nigerians protesting police brutality and extortion with hashtag #EndSARS to discontinue the protest before it further degenerates.
Tens of thousands of Nigerian youths have been on the streets for nearly a week, calling for an end to police brutality, extortion and justice for victims of the atrocities of the outlawed Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The protests which are gathering momentum each passing day, are also being held in several countries outside the shores of Nigeria.
But worried about the violence which has characterized the protests in some parts of the country, Onowakpo, a chieftain of the APC, who had served as chairman, Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, urged the Nigerian protesters to take a cue from what happened in Syria where a similar protests snowballed into a civil war in the country.
Reacting to journalists queries on time to end the protests, Onowakpo retorted: “Of course otherwise it degenerates and nobody will remember the reason for the protest.
“Is anybody still talking about the protest in Syria which led to the war for over 10yrs? Are they still talking about removing the president or election in Syria? Remember, Syria is a very small country compared to Nigeria”.
He said that so long the Nigeria authorities and President Muhammadu Buhari have kick started the process of addressing the issues raised by the #EndSARS protesters, there should not be any need for overstretching the issues that are currently being handled.
While aligning himself to calls for total reformation of the Nigeria Police Force, with improved welfare package and bring justice to victims of SARS atrocities which were the core reasons for the protest, Onowakpo urged the protesters to put the political stability of the nation first and stop the protests which he said are capable of truncating the country’s democracy.
He contended that President Buhari has agreed to the demands of the protesters and was already sorting out the vexed issues, hence it is necessary to discontinue the protests to save the country from drowning.
“I wish to align myself with the urgent need for total reformation of Nigeria police. EndSARS alone will not give the desired result. An improved welfare package will be the step in the right direction.
“A word of caution. The President and Civil Societies should listen to each other. The stability of the country is very important. Our democracy is under threat! We should not overstretch an issue if it is being handled. Remember this is how it all started in Syria.
“You have made your point, it is time to articulate your demands and sit down with government to implement these before the essence of this struggle is abused”, he added.
Meanwhile, Onowakpo who hails from Isoko, has condemned the reported gruesome murder of nine persons by yet-to-be established assailants in oil bearing community of Oleh in Delta state.
The deceased were reportedly killed in their farm land located between Oleh and Ozoro road on the heels of the festering land dispute between Oleh and Ozoro, both oil producing communities in the state on Friday.
Reacting to the killings, Onowakpo, in a post made on his twitter handle, called on the Delta state government and the security agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killings with the view to fishing out the perpetrators.
He wrote: “What has happened in the Isoko ethnic nationality where unknown persons have killed over nine indigenes of Oleh community in the most cruel manner as a result of land dispute is condemnable”.
The APC candidate for the 2019 Isoko federal constituency election, said that the attack was alien to the Isoko people, noting that the incident needed to be thoroughly investigated.
“This is alien to the Isoko people and should be condemned by all well meaning persons. I am appealing to the State Government and the Security agencies to get to the root of this immediately to avoid a complete breakdown of law and order”.
While saying that the incident was condemnable, Onowakpo, however condoled the bereaved families and appealed to residents of both communities to remain calm and allow government handle the situation to avoid break down of law and order