By Adeola Badru
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development and a former Governor of Ogun State, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday, called on the youths in Oyo State, to eschew violence and allow the government to attend to the demands placed before it.
The duo spoke during their separate visit to Governor Seyi Makinde at the state Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
Speaking earlier, Dare who said his visit was to convey the message of President Muhammadu Buhari to the governor to seek means of partnership on how to support and empower the youths as part of the multi-level consultation ordered by the President, enjoined the youths to take advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by the government to better their lots.
The minister: “Here this morning I came to see Governor Makinde and upon the PMB directive that all Minister should back to their state and hold levels of consultations arising from the youth protest across the country.”
“Therefore, I have come to do my own level of consultation and we feel the best place to start is to start with the Chief Security Officer of the state and I have had a fruitful deliberation with him and I have delivered the message from the FG.”
“We have also considered ways by which we can partner to make sure that the youths of this country are supported and empowered but also above all to make sure that we keep the peace that is necessary for development.”
“The government is already at the negotiation table ready for a conversation with the youths. The youth of this country has a seat at the table, they need to come and take that seat so that we can have a conversation, not just on behalf of the youths alone but on behalf of the Nigerian society because the youths have become the vanguard of change for our country.”
“We are saddened by the level of destruction across the country. They are preventable, but there is a lesson for all of us. It is important that we promote unity and protest in a peaceful way, we saw this protest started as a peaceful protest but then as soon as we had an infiltration, the protest was hijacked and taken away.”
“We will get justice for every youth that is either killed, injured or attacked in this process. The President has ordered an investigation to all the atrocities committed by SARS, we have seen government action, about 36 SARS officers have been retired and fired from their jobs in Lagos, 21 SARS officers have been taken to court and arraigned before the court of law, in Ogun State, the same is happening and across the state, that will happen.”
“Part of the message that I brought for the Governor was that we have 25 youth focus programmes established in the last five and a half years. Youths across the nation can benefit, these are the National programme. The Nigerian Youth Investment Fund is also running among other initiatives and the youths must seek out these opportunities and also apply themselves to it. And we are working to make sure that it is as transparent as possible so that the mass of our people can benefit.”
“We know it is not all our youths that are destructive but those who are profiting from the crisis. We know our youths don’t have such attitude and destructive tendencies. My advice is that they must be patient. The protest had ended and the next thing is for them to sit with the government and talk on what we must do to progress.”
Speaking while paying a condolence visit to the governor, Amosun appealed to the youths to be civil in their agitation on the EndSARS protests.
The former governor, currently representing Ogun Central senatorial district at the upper chambers of the National Assembly, while expressing support for the youths on the protest, however, regretted the violence which erupted in various parts of the country on account of the protests.
He urged the Federal Government to speed up implementation of demands of the youth protesters as well as the implementation of the other lofty policies and programmes geared towards engagement of youths.