The National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) on Wednesday urged the youth to embrace dialogue in resolving their grievances.
The council gave the advice when its delegation paid a solidarity visit to Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over the destruction and mayhem following the EndSARS protest in the state.
Etsu of Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, who led the delegation, said that the nation had learnt both good and harsh lessons in the violence that followed the protests and urged for dialogue between the youth and political leaders.
Abubakar said that although the protest was organised for good reasons, the violent outcome pushed the nation to the edge and threatened peace.
He said that the visit to Lagos followed the decision reached at the Nov. 3 meeting of the council jointly chaired by Sultan of Sokoto and Ooni of Ife.
The monarch said that the council was disturbed by the violent attack on traditional institutions and the level of destruction visited on the government and private-owned assets.
“We have come here to express our concern about the violent event that erupted from the EndSARS protests in Lagos and to also put our feelings forward to offer suggestions on the way forward.
“We acknowledge that there are a lot of shortcomings and misgivings in the system, but misinformation and negative bias that accompanied the agitations fueled the violence we witnessed.
“The reason for the protest was very genuine and reasonable. Unfortunately, the demonstration was overtaken by groups who didn’t believe in peace and unity of this country. So many lessons were learnt both in positive and negative ways.
“As leaders who believe in peace, we owe people of this country a duty to ensure the lessons are taken by the political class. It is on this ground that we come physically to show our solidarity to the governor over the losses,´´ Abubakar said.
He said that in spite the violence, the government had not reneged on its promise to grant the five-point demand of the protesters.
The Etsu of Nupe said that the commitment should be seen as olive branch to the youths to embrace dialogue rather than returning to public protests to press home their demands.
“We urge all Nigerians, especially our youths, to give peace a chance. Whatever grievance anyone or a group may have against the government, dialogue is the key to resolve the issues.
“Our youths have protested peacefully, and those in authorities have started responding to their demands. We all must be committed to peace in this period,´´ he said.
The council sympathised with Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, over the attack on his palace, while also commiserating with the police and people who lost their loved ones in the violence across the country.
Gov. Sanwo-Olu thanked the traditional rulers for the gesture, assuring them of his administration’s commitment to engage jobless youths in productive ventures.
Other traditional rulers in the delegation include Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, Obi of Obi-Orodo Eze Imo, Eze Agunwa Ohiri, and Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi.
Others are the paramount ruler of Nsit Ubium Okin Ibibio, Nteyin Solomon Etuk, Oba of Ikate, Oba Saheed Elegushi, and Director-General of the National Council of Traditional Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Kassim Yawa.