#EndSARS: Angry youths vandalise NLC, DPR, INEC, SEMA offices in Calabar
The beautiful city of Calabar, Cross River State capital, experienced her own share of the orgy of violence the otherwise peaceful protest against police brutality, #EndSARS, has turned to in the last one week as angry youths stormed and vandalised the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, building, the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC, building and the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, building, where they carted away food stuff and set up the warehouses ablaze.
The youths, in their hundreds, Tribune Online gathered, also destroyed valuables and equipment worth millions of naira at the office of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, the government warehouse in the Ministry of Works, the Commercial Transport Regulatory Agency, Value Mart supermarket and the Cross River Newspaper Corporation, publishers of the “Chronicle”.
Eye witnesses accounts on Saturday in Calabar, indicated that the Calabar youths, like it has been recorded in most states in the country, went after edibles believed to be palliatives to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the state, but which were not distributed to the people.
Besides the food items carted away by the invading army of the rampaging youths, they equally helped themselves to household items such generators, air conditioners, computers, furniture and internet facilities, the witnesses recalled.
It was further gathered that most of the arson and looting took place at night in spite of the 24-hour curfew imposed on the state by the government.
The state governor, Professor GBen Ayade, in a state broadcast on Saturday in Calabar, said the #EndSARS protest had taken a different dimension in the state.
“We the people of Cross River are known to be peace loving, we are known to be a people who love our neighbours, we are very caring, very nice and highly civilized people,” Ayade cajoled.
According to him, “The ENDSARS protest is a protest and a fight that all of us have identified with and we stand by you at this moment. It offers a great opportunity for us in leadership to recognize the anguish, the pain, the agony and frustration you feel and like I said in my earlier address, I stand with you in this difficult time.”
The embattled governor, however, submitted that if the people destroyed their assets, “as a state with one of the lowest allocations in the country, we will not have the ability to rebuild.”
The governor noted that he had taken note of the concerns of the youths and measures were been taken to address them.
“Cross Riverians, this is not the time to pass blames, this is not the time to exact vengeance. Every politician must have his political opponents who think differently but at this time, let the fear of God prevail because Nigeria is at a very challenging moment,” Ayade pleaded.
While assuring that the nation would overcome the present situation, he added that the protest had taught the country some lessons and had given the nation “the opportunity to make amends. No human is perfect. Whatever your concerns are, please let the spirit of Cross River take over.”
Ayade thereafter went theological, saying, “I plead with you, using the blood of Jesus that please let us forgive each other and come together as a state. Let us be united at this hour and fish out the people who infiltrated our state.”