Former Military Administrator of Lagos State and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse, General Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd), has called on Nigerian youths to embrace dialogue and constructive engagement with authorities at all levels of government to achieve their demands and the realisation of the Nigeria of their dream.
Marwa made the appeal in a statement to commiserate with the victims of the Lekki shooting in Lagos State and all others, including security agents who lost their lives, properties or got injured during the #EndSARS protests across the country.
He said: “As a former military administrator of Lagos with great bonds and cherished affinity with the good people of the state, I was deeply troubled and worried by the news reports I got about the ugly turn of events at the Lekki toll plaza on Tuesday October 20, 2020 and the subsequent wanton destruction of public and private assets.
“This should never have been if peaceful protesters had not been confronted with live bullets and innocent lives lost in the process.
“The chain reaction that followed and the hijack of that by some other elements, motivated by other motives should serve as a great lesson to all stakeholders in the Nigerian project.”
Marwa also commiserated with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu; and other state governors and leaders who equally lost lives and public assets in their various states.
He expressed concern that the current hijack of the #EndSARS protests by suspected hoodlums, looters and arsonists is capable of undermining the genuine and noble agitation of the Nigerian youths.
He added: “No doubt, the demands of the youths have caught the attention of government at all levels and even the international community.
“As such, I want to implore them that now that their statement had been made loud and clear, they should modify their strategy; embrace the dialogue option, so as to deny fifth columnists the chance to change the narrative of their struggle and tarnish their unblemished agenda.”
The PACEDA chairman said the spate of violent attacks, mindless destruction, looting and arson across the country underscores and brings to the front burner the urgent need to wage ferocious war against substance abuse in the country.
Marwa explained that the prevalent cases of substance abuse by some hoodlums have aggravated the mayhem in some parts of the country.
According to him: “More than ever before, the recent events have again shown that there is the urgent need to expedite all pending actions by government to tackle and make decisive moves against substance and drug abuse in the country.”
General Marwa called on well meaning Nigerians, particularly traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil society organisations, women associations and youth groups to rally round Federal and State Governments to restore peace, normalcy and order in the country.