A group, 1001+ Initiative for People Empowerment, has said “the protest against Police brutality popularly termed #ENDSARS that occurred in many parts of the country for almost a fortnight, has been, to a very large extent, acclaimed as peaceful, well-coordinated and most civil. And thus, has attracted commendation and praise from the world over.”
A statement by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Uwem-Obong Ankak, said “However, by some sinister twist, some scoundrels infiltrated the ranks of these bold and innovative youths, and sent things spiraling out of control. This villainous acts have culminated in avoidable, untoward consequences. Alas, a noble movement and glorious moment of only a few days ago degenerated into some riotous mob action, spewing hate, and spreading like wildfire across Nigeria, leaving in its wake a scenario similar to the aftermath of a protracted war and anarchy. “
“1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment has all the while stayed in tune with developments in Akwa Ibom State regarding the said protest. We had no cause to worry, or so we thought, considering the civil and temperate disposition the marching youths conducted themselves, coupled with the innate nature of the Akwa Ibom people as Godly and peace-loving. Unfortunately, the developments of the past two days are grossly at variance with what we are known for as a people.”
“Nothing can ever justify wanton destruction of property and infrastructure that were procured at a great cost to us all. The institutional buildings burnt/vandalized catered to the immediate populace; therefore, their inability to function will be of immense inconvenience mostly to us, the people. We are heartbroken. Perhaps our Millennials and Gen-Z’s need be informed that only a few years ago, people from our parts had to travel to distant cities in other states to know what a traffic light and a flyover bridge look like.”
“Fellow Akwa Ibomites, 1001+ Voices condemn these acts in the strongest of terms. We admonish that such behaviour will only attract negative attention which will be at cross purposes with our collective dream of being an investment and tourism destination of choice in the very near future. The modest achievements we have made in our 33 years of existence makes Akwa Ibom the state to beat, and our well celebrated infrastructure must be jealously protected while we strive to add to what we have already secured under our belt.”
“We believe that no true Akwa Ibom son or daughter will desire us to go back to being an inconsequential “piece of real estate” on the map of Nigeria, but rather should join hands to help attain the pride of place in the assembly of states. We appeal to our religious leaders, traditional rulers, youth and community leaders, compatriots at home and in the Diaspora to intervene and keep our state and people safe from negative influences,”” the statement said.