CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – Former Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Cross River State and General Overseer of Intercessors Bible Mission (IBM) in Calabar, Cross River State, Archbishop Archibong Archibong has said that the country and its leadership and indeed the elders have taken the young people for granted for too long.
Speaking to newsmen in Calabar on Friday, Archibong said there was an assumption that the youths do not just exist and that the young people have just made a statement that they are there, “As far as they are concerned, society is against their future, the 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 to their members to return whatever they looted, but called on the authorities not to contemplate criminalizing any youth as he believed that at that hour of madness, the youths 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.
Archbishop Archibong further posited that the commencement of curfew between 4pm to 8 am was odd, considering when civil servants are expected to officially close from work, as well as the ensuing traffic jam which has now become synonymous with Calabar streets in recent days.
He, therefore, called on the state government to reconsider enforcing the curfew between the hours of 6pm to 6am and commiserated with the State government and indeed all the victims of last weekend’s vandalization of public and private properties in Calabar and environs, but tasked government at all levels to address the underlying factors which led to the carnage.