Stakeholders in Benue State yesterday demanded an apology from President Muhammadu Buhari over his silence, killings and his inability to condole families of #EndSARS protesters who lost their lives during the peaceful protests. They made their stand known during a presidential stakeholders’ meeting held to appraise the level of destruction caused by the protesters, which was held at the Government House, Makurdi, the state capital.
They, however, lauded Governor Samuel Ortom’s proactive steps in ensuring that youths in the state did not engage in looting and destruction of property during the protests. Describing the meeting as a welcome development, the stakeholders commended the state governor for not allowing the protests to go the way of protests in other states, which were characterised by looting and destruction of property.
Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, expressed regret over the damage done on the nation’s economy, noting that the government was however working on welfare packages to heal the wounds caused by the crisis that followed the protests. Akume said even though SARS started well, it derailed in its functions when it began to engage in extrajudicial killings, an issue that had made many to suffer psychological trauma.
He rolled out a catalogue of some youth initiatives embarked upon by the Buhari administration. Governor Ortom had noted earlier that some of the issues raised by the youths were as a result of accumulated anger meted out to Nigerians as well as issues that were left unattended to by previous administrations. The governor also noted that at a critical time like this, leaders must engage youths and leave no gap, otherwise the situation may consume both the leaders and the led. He said during the protests, people in government had sleepless nights, particularity on the security situation in the country. He however calmed the youth down, appealing to stakeholders at the occasion to lay aside their political difference and tackle the issue at hand.