Economic Hardship: Rotary Clubs, JCI Advocates for Peaceful Protests, Discourage Destruction of Public Facilities

By: Saheed Adeola (Mrpossible)

The Rotary Clubs of Abeokuta Metropolitan and Junior Chamber International (JCI) Rock City, Abeokuta and Hills ⁷have joined forces to promote peace and conflict prevention amidst the economic hardships faced by Nigerians. 

In a recent campaign held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the local organizations emphasized the need to refrain from destroying public facilities during protests.

The group urged Nigerians to channel their grievances through peaceful means and refrain from engaging in destructive behavior that only exacerbates the economic hardships experienced nationwide.

During the Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention campaign, Hope President of Rotary Club Abeokuta Metropolitan, Rotarian Oladapo Sanni, who spoke on the theme of the event: "Economic Effects of Public Facilities Destruction during Protests", hinted that the cautionary message aimero to address the negative consequences of such actions on the country's economy.

He posited that it is the right of every citizen to protest and make their grievances known to the government but not to the extent of destroying public facilities. 

Rotarian Oladapo appealed to Nigerians to desist from the destruction of public facilities embrace peace and prevent conflict in any way, be it within the family, community, and society at large.  

His words, "I want to advise Nigerians to embrace peace and prevent conflict, we all know that the country is not smiling at the moment, people are hungry and are indeed angry as well, and the only way we can do as Rotarians can appeal to our people is what we are doing now, by preaching peace among ourselves and communities, especially among youths they should build peace and prevent conflict, it is better to prevent than to cure. 

"Because destroying public and government properties in the way making our anger known to the world is not the best, there are other ways of doing it, that is why we are preaching to our people to let try to build peace and prevent conflicts and destruction of government properties and individuals properties". 

"The government is aware of what we are doing, and we are expecting them to listen to the masses if the government fails to do what people are expecting, they will go out in anger and do what we are preaching to them not to do, so I urge the government to do what people are demanding for". 

In the same development, the Chairman of peacebuilding and conflict prevention Mr. Jamiu Ogunwolu who was a past President and a member of Rotary Club Abeokuta Metro pointed out that destroying public facilities during protests will do no favor to the country but dragging it backward, instead of going forward. 

He noted that the country that has built by 10% will be backward if people keep destroying public properties in the name of protest, adding it would only bring about negative effects on the country's development. 

Rotarian Ogunwoolu called on Nigerians to be patient with the current administration, assuring that after the pain, there will be enjoyment after all. 

"We are trying to preach peace, obviously we are complaining about the hardship that is going on in the country, we think it good to sensitize our people on why it is so good to preach peace to them, and stop destroying public properties because that property is our own, so if we continue to destroy it, is still our money they will use to repair it, so that is why we need to come together to preach to our people that when protesting let us maintain orderliness, let peace rain and let us manage ourselves well". 

"People are ready to comply, only if they see people that give them a reason why, on what we are saying is important. On an assumption basis, we already build the country to 10%, but when they start destroying public properties, it going to bring us backward, destroying it will only have a negative effect on our country. So, I want to advise that we should be patient with the current government, everything will still be alright". 

Similarly, the immediate past president of Rotary Club Abeokuta Metropolitan Rotarian Arumu Babatunde submitted that one of the Rotary Club 7 areas of focus is peacebuilding and conflict prevention, which is usually celebrated in February. 

He said it is the right of Nigerians to protest, but while protesting they should embrace peace, adding that destruction of property is criminality.

Aremu recalled the event of the endsars protest in Lagos whereby hundreds of BRT busses were destroyed, lamenting that many people in Lagos are still feeling the pain up till now. 

He posited that peaceful protest is our right, but violent protests are criminality, so Nigerians should do things peacefully.  

Meanwhile, the Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs in Ogun state, Hon. Adijat Adeleye also maintained that peacebuilding and conflict prevention are the core values of the Rotary club, noting that it is true that we are going through some hardship, but it is not expected of us to destroy public properties. 

She noted that if public property were been destroyed in the name of protest, it would bring the country backward and the government would still use our money to repair it. 

Adeleye urged Nigerians to embrace peace if expressing their grievance to the government.  

Present at the event were all Rotary Club presidents and Members of Egba, and Junior Chamber International JCI in Abeokuta Presidents and members. 

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