Ndi Anambra ekenem unu
I am compelled to address you today by the growing tension across the country ignited by recent efforts by Nigerian youths to ask for a better Nigeria.
The events of the past few days remind me of the words of Franz Fanon, the influential political philosopher who observed that “each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it in relative opacity.”
This generation of Nigerian youths has discovered its mission. But the question everyone is asking is; will they betray or fulfill it?
Great Anambra youths, I am immensely proud of what you have achieved so far. But we must not succumb to the morbid attractions of violence; no matter the provocation, no matter how justified our anger and no matter how easy it all might seem. Violence does not yield fruitful results.
The founder of modern India, Mahatma Ghandi warns that “when violence appears to do good, the good is only temporary; but the evil it does is permanent.”
Umu nnem, while our beloved state remains largely safe and isolated from the boiling sea outside, we have also recorded a few unpleasant incidents in our domain and there is justifiable anger in the land. But we cannot give it a chance to consume us all. Consequently, we are taking precautionary steps to prevent further descent to lawlessness in Anambra State by imposing a 24 hour curfew with effect from 8pm today until we bring this rising tension under control.
Therefore, all schools and markets in Anambra State are hereby closed. All gatherings by groups and associations under any name or label from 8pm are banned. The law enforcement agencies in the state have been duly directed to enforce compliance. However, all law enforcement officers charged with ensuring compliance to the restriction on movement must resist the temptation of applying excessive force while attempting to bring the situation under control. We cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes that created the problem we are trying to solve in the first place.
Meanwhile, I wish to assure all non-indigenes living among us in Anambra State of their safety and security wherever they live in our dear state. The government of Anambra State will not allow you to come to any harm.
Ndi Anambra, we may do well to recall that in response to the nationwide demand by Nigerian youths for an end to the gross violation of their human rights by the defunct SARS, my administration had taken proactive measures to enthrone justice and peace in our dear state. I have personally visited all the facilities used by the defunct SARS and freed all the prisoners in unlawful detention. I have set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to listen to petitions from victims of human rights violations by the defunct SARS. And more importantly, I am happy to announce that we have set aside the sum of N200m to be disbursed as compensations to people who have proven cases of rights violations, torture and deaths from the activities of the defunct SARS in Anambra State. This provision is part of the 2021 Budget which shall be presented to the State House of Assembly in a matter of days. Ndi Anambra, this effort is made essentially in pursuit of a better society. We know that no amount of money can equate a human life. But we believe that a symbolic gesture delivered at the right moment can heal old wounds and help aggrieved families to find closure in these most traumatic times.
Ndi Anambra, the peace and security we have enjoyed in Anambra State in the past seven years is under threat. All hands must be on deck to save Anambra from this danger. I urgently call on all religious leaders, traditional rulers, market leaders, community leaders and leaders of the various youth associations across Anambra State to rise to this immediate challenge and speak to our youths and calm the boiling anger in the land. Whatever we destroy in a feat of anger was built by us, even if they were donated to federal institutions within our state. We must do everything we can to avoid self-inflicted injuries.
Ndi Anambra, the times we live in demand extraordinary sacrifices. We must respond to it with patience, forbearance and love. This is not the time for unrestrained emotions. This is not the time for destructive rumours and conspiracy theories. This is a time to reach out and touch one another with love, to treat each other with kindness and to say to one another with one voice; Nigeria is greater than her problems!
Umu nnem, we are the inheritors of a proud history. We carry the inventive genius of the great minds that created the famous Igboukwu civilization. Our ancestors practiced pragmatic democracy before the Greeks stumbled upon its fine theories. We rose from the ashes of a brutal Civil War to rebuild our lives with relative ease. Ndi Anambra, our story is different. So, we must act with a sense of history in moments like this. We must not give in to regrettable anger and throw everything away.
God bless Anambra State
God bless Nigeria