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Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has once again called on parents, guardians and relevant stakeholders in the State and the nation to appeal to rampaging youths and protesters to stop further destruction of lives and properties.
Dr lkpeazu made the call when he received the DIG in charge of ICT, Police Headquarters, Abuja and Supervising DIG South East Zone, Mr Celestine Okoye, and his team who are in the State to ascertain the level of damage in the aftermaths of the End SARS protest.
The Governor noted that the destruction of monuments and edifices of historic significance, as well as government and private properties, by some protesters in the State was a self-inflicted injury that will take government time and resources to repair and restore.
He lamented that the seemingly peaceful End SARS protest took a violent dimension when mayhem was unleashed in the State, listing some of the properties destroyed to include the Aba Town Hall, Aba South LGA headquarters, Revenue Offices, TIMASS Office, financial institutions, onion market, Court houses, private and public establishments that offer employment to thousands of Abia citizens.
According to him, the government apart from addressing the demands of the protesting youths, also convened a Town Hall Meeting with relevant stakeholders and appealed to them on the need to sensitize and inform the youths that destruction of public and private properties that took many years and resources to build will only worsen their plight as they will be replaced and repaired with resources that should be channelled to other areas of need.
lkpeazu who assured that the State Government has already started meeting some of the demands of the End SARS protesters, urged the DlG to carry out an objective assessment of what happened in the State, as well as look into areas where the police can assist the State to ensure adequate security for all without the grey areas tabled by Abia youths.
He appreciated the cordial relationship existing between the State and security outfits which has led to the State being adjudged as one of the safest in the country.
Speaking also, leader of the police delegation and DIG in charge of ICT Police Headquarters, Abuja and Supervising DIG for South East Zone, Mr Celestine Okoye, made a passionate appeal to Abia youths to stop destroying properties they hitherto toiled hard to build, but should rather guard their homes, investment and properties from destruction by outsiders as the future belongs to them.
Okoye advised all aggrieved parties to embrace dialogue instead of resorting to destruction as violence does no one any good.
He called on parents/guardians to talk to their children/wards to always exercise restraint as the country’s leadership was ready to dialogue with them on the way forward.
The police Boss also reiterated that the disbanded SARS will not be recycled, while a new set of officers are currently being trained by professionals to handle criminal cases like armed robbery, kidnaping among others in line with International best practice, and commended the State Government and the Commissioner of Police for the matured way they are handling the situation.
Also present at the meeting were the Secretary to State Government, Barr Chris Ezem, members of the State Executive Council and the Commissioner of Police, Mrs Janet Agbede among other stakeholders in the security sector.