Cross River State National Assembly caucus have appealed for calm, calling on stakeholders to join hands with Governor Ben Ayade in rebuilding the state.
In a press statement made available to journalists in Calabar on Thursday, and signed by Senator Gershom Bassey, on behalf of other members, the lawmakers said they are bound by the collective obligation to protect and defend Calabar and every part of Cross River against criminal elements and other enemies of the state.
The NASS members said the youths’ complaints and voices have been heard loud and clear, appealing further to the youths to give peace a chance and be patient with government.
The statement read in part: “We, the members of NASS, appeal to your good conscience to stand by government as it restores law and order and puts an end to the ugly incidents perpetrated against government, private businesses and individuals by criminal elements last weekend.
“It is clear to us that these criminal elements took advantage of the meaningful and peaceful #endsars protests, to unleash their nefarious acts against our state.
“No doubt, the protest and its objectives were warranted, justified and we reach out a hand of solidarity to the #endsars cause. However, the recent degeneration and commandeering of the protest by hoodlums and criminal elements, are regrettable and purported to taint an otherwise well-intended purpose.
“The characteristic trademark of Cross River is as an oasis of peace and the people’s paradise which is indigenous to us known for tolerance and love for one another.
“This is our heritage and the priceless gains that have earned us a unique identity, admired by other parts of the country. We cannot give it up to the sheer exhilaration of the enemies of our state. We cannot allow those who do not wish us well, to destroy our coveted patrimony.”
Decrying the sad incidents of looting, vandalism and wanton destruction of several government, private and individual properties in Calabar, the legislators said the protest has made all to become more conscionable representatives in delivering the dividends of democracy and in our sensitivity to the welfare of the people, ensuring a change of attitude in service.
“The truth that it will never be business as usual, as all of us are behind this legitimate movement by our people. Your demands will be given prompt consideration, please be patient with us.
“Therefore, with broken hearts, we identify and sympathise with the government of the state over the needless destruction of federal and state-owned properties, as well as private properties.
The NASS also sympathised with Senators Victor Ndoma-Egba, Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Bassey Edet Otu, Hilliard Etta, Calabar market women’s association and its members and other members of the public, business owners and individuals who suffered losses in this unfortunate turn of events.
They, however, appealed to the youths, elders, political leaders, religious leaders and traditional institutions for a more constructive and proactive approach to reach an understanding and the resolution that violence is a threat to a functional society.