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The leadership and members of the Seventh Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, led by Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, have condemned the arson, looting and act of criminality exuded by youths in the state in the guise of #EndSARSProtest on Thursday, saying “any attempt by any person(s) to cause chaos in our state is unacceptable, and appropriate steps shall be taken to ensure that we continue to enjoy the peace we are known for.”

The House, in a statement signed by the Speaker on Friday, said charged youths and every responsible citizen of Akwa Ibom to be patriotic, protect infrastructure and not allow hoodlums and agents of destruction to use the #EndSARS platform to cause mayhem and wanton destruction of property.

The statement said “There is no gain saying that it is legitimate for the youths or any other Nigerian to carry out protest against police brutality and/ or any actions or inactions of the government they feel unsatisfied with, inasmuch, as such protest is carried out peacefully without endangering or infringing on the rights and safety of other citizens, the reason the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has supported the #EndSARS peaceful protest. However, this well intentioned and genuine protest has been hijacked by hoodlums and miscreants the same dovetailing into unconscionable looting and heartless destruction of properties across the nation.”

He said the House of Assembly will ensure perpetrators and sponsors of unfortunate incident of Thursday, October 22, 2020, “where malefactors went on rampage, destroying public and private properties, they resorted to arson, looting and insensitive intimidation of our people,” are brought to book.

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Rt. Hon. Bassey further said “The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly therefore, most passionately, appeals to Akwa Ibom youths to embrace peace, the security agencies in carrying out their constitutional duties must be firm, professional and at all times exercise restraint in doing so. We also condemn the massacre at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State and other parts of Nigeria by inconsiderate and insensitive security operatives. It was an avoidable tragedy if only humanity had been the covering banner of the security operatives at the moment. We deeply sympathize with the families of the slain heroes and pray for the speedy recovery of those who sustained injuries in the course of the peaceful protest.”

“No nation or state thrives in acrimony and the destruction of public and private property will only threaten our state and nation’s peace, unity, development and progress. Rather, the call for institutional reforms, which will certainly strengthen good governance, can be pursued through dialogue and other nonviolent methods. Let me, on behalf of the House, thank youths of Akwa Ibom State for being partof the protest in a responsible manner and for showing to the world that peace resides in Akwa Ibom State.”

The Speaker commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for setting up a Judicial Panel of Investigation headed by an eminent jurist, Retired Justice Ifiok Ukana, to investigate incidences of police brutality in the state, urging citizens to avail themselves of this golden opportunity,”

“The efforts of Governor Udom Emmanuel in keeping Akwa Ibom State safe for all of us and investors must not be frustrated. The House of Assembly will continue to work with the Executive arm of government, Security agencies, youths and our good people to ensure that there is peace in Akwa Ibom State,” the statement concluded.

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