With the wanton destruction of public and private properties in some states by some aggrieved young men, the former Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Cross River state, Archbishop Archibong Archibong, has said the time is fully ripe for Nigerian political leaders to encourage Nigerian youths to exert themselves, saying doing so would be in the interest of the country.
In a chat with our reporter in Calabar, the CAN leader, who is also the founder of the Calabar-based Intercessors Bible Mission (IBM) said the level of wanton destruction of public and private properties was an indication of the boiled up anger.
While commiserating with victims, Archbishop Archibong said “I condole with families of all those who had lost their lives and those who had also lost property. May the God of heaven strengthen them grant them the ability to bear the avoidable loss. I
“Looking at the ENDSARS protest and the level of vandalization that we have witnessed across the country, it is an indication that the young people are terribly angry. The country and its leadership and indeed the elders have taken the young people for granted for too long. There is an assumption that the youths do not just exist and the young people have just made a statement that they are there.
“Everyman with a vein in his body would, in the physical, be surprised at the depth of destruction and would inevitably condemn it with, but looking at it deeply and spiritually, it tells us about the deep rooted anger and venom in their heart. The level of destruction is telling us about the state of mind of the young people. They are so bitter to the extent that they are ready to destroy and even kill.
“As far as they are concerned, society is against their future, they government and the older people are out to destroy their destiny. The decay that has taken place, the lack of empathy, the suffering they undergo could force them to react destructively. If you look at Cross River state for instance, nobody would have believed that such carnage could have been inflicted on the state.
“Our leaders should create a chance for young people to assert themselves. We need to do something very fast about this situation and deliberately initiate steps to accommodate them, after all, the country belongs to them.”
The Clergy said he had, during meetings with pastors, appealed to them to preach on the pulpits that their membership should return whatever they looted, but called on the authorities not to contemplate clamping any youth into detention. He believed that at that hour of madness, the youth who participated in the destruction were controlled by another spirit.
“We agree that what they did was wrong but then we must learn a lesson from it. Let us collectively appeal to those who looted property to return them. Look at it this way, how do you take something you won’t even use? Some of them got involved because they saw others doing it.
“At that moment, there was no iota of reasoning. They were controlled by something above them. Let the government show an element of understanding and accommodate them even though it is very painful considering the gravity of vandalization which went on,” he stated.
On why the curfew which was declared on Friday evening in Cross River was not enforced to have warded off the vandalization on Friday night and the whole of Saturday, the CAN leader linked it to intelligence failure on the part of the government and the security agencies, saying the authorities were not proactive enough.