- Pay Solidarity Visit To Lagos Gov, Condemn Use Of Excessive Force…
Governors drawn from the constituent states of the Southwest geo-political zone on Sunday flayed what they described as moves by certain “elements keenly anxious to annihilate” South-West and vanquish “her common heritage.”
The South West Governors who made the remarks during their solidarity visit to their colleague in Lagos, Mr Babajide Sanwo-olu said the attacks and wanton destruction of valuable property in the wake of the #EndSARS protest in Lagos state has exposed “our land as not only vulnerable, but susceptible to vile manipulations.”
Recall that in the wake of the #EndSARS protest, the constituent states of the south west geo-political zone were characterized by wanton attacks and destruction of valuable properties as hoodlums and hooligans reportedly leveraged upon the protest to wreck crisis.
During their solidarity visit to their colleague, Governor Sanwo-Olu, the Southwest governors used the occasion to inspect various scenes of destruction. These include the City Hall, Lagos State DNA and Forensic Center, Nigerian Ports Authority, Headquarters, Marina, Lekki Toll Gate.
On the solidarity trip were Governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. Others present were Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, among others.
Governor Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the South-West Governors Forum who read out the communique that was issued at the end of the meeting noted that “the #EndSARS protest was hijacked by some people ostensibly to execute a destructive agenda.”
He said: “This regression into savagery exposes our land as not only vulnerable, but susceptible to vile manipulations by elements keenly anxious to annihilate the South West and destroy our common heritage.
“We are deeply concerned with the ease with which public buildings, utilities, police stations and Investments of our people have been burnt despite the proximity of security agencies in those areas. We call on the heads of all security agencies to be alive to their obligations to defend the country…
“We charge the relevant security agencies to investigate all cases of violence with a view to identifying the culprits.. We are particularly worried that 48 hours, after the unfortunate incident at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos by persons adorning military fatigue, there has been no definitive statement from the military authorities on the incident.
“Our anxiety becomes heightened by the categorical denial of the Governor of Lagos State concerning the deployment. No Governor has power to authorize deployment of military personnel in Nigeria.”
The Southwest Governors who appealed to youths to suspend the #EndSARS protest while awaiting the outcome of on-going investigation over the alleged use of excessive force on protesters by security forces lambasted the military for its alleged role in the Lekki shootings.
Akeredolu added: “The spread of fake news and videos, which followed an allegation of shooting by some soldiers with acclaimed heavy casualty figure at the Lekki Toll Gate, Victoria Island, Lagos, is primarily responsible for the subsequent loss of lives and property.
“We commiserate with the families of victims of violence across Lagos State and slain policemen. We pray that the Almighty grants them the fortitude to bear these avoidable losses. We also note, with much pain and sadness, the vast and spreading destruction of property belonging to notable individuals and vestiges of our collective patrimony and pride.
“We commiserate with His Royal Majesty, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, on the sacrilege committed at his palace and condemn in no unmistakable terms the vile attack on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and destruction of businesses where it is believed he has interest, TVC, The Nation, to mention a few.”
He explained further: “There were no doubt of different levels of injury to persons arising from the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate. Consequently, we insist that full investigation be conducted to ascertain the veracity of the news items liberally circulated by some local media.
“It is becoming very clear that the conflagration may have been caused by deliberate deployment of weapon of mass confusion…
“The selective application of jungle justice raises suspicion as regards the real motive of the arsonists and vandals. We use this medium to appeal to the youth, especially those of South West extraction, to be circumspect lest they lend themselves to the evil schemes of those who want to destroy our land.
“The protests started off as genuine, demanding reformation and restitution. The current happenings across the South West, especially Lagos State, have exposed dubiousness and complicity evidencing malice aforethought. We enjoin our youth’s rise up to defend our land and people against the diabolical incursions ravaging our space.
“What do we stand to gain destroying ourselves? We cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our heritage destroyed and our people suffer. We must engage, constructively, all those whose dubious solutions to solve problem is the descent to anarchy.”