By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Southwest Governors on Sunday said the regression into savagery leading to destruction of massive properties in Lagos and other places exposed the region as susceptible to vile manipulations by elements keenly anxious to annihilate the South West and destroy her common heritage.
The Southwest governors had paid a visit on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to commiserate with him over the mayhem that occurred in Lagos occasioned by #EndSARS protest.
Chairman, Southwest Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, who read the resolution of the governors to newsmen, lamented that the protest by #EndSARS was hijacked by some people ostensibly to execute a destructive design.
“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,” he said.
Akeredolu said as reports from relevant agencies and action of government were being awaited, the governors appealed to the young ones again to suspend the #EndSARS protest, remain calm and be vigilant, as violation of people’s rights and incidence of police brutality had been complied with.
He added that recent development left the governors with no other option than to believe that there might have been other reasons for the continued protests, well coordinated and funded.
“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 added.
Akeredolu said the governors noted with great relief, the confirmation by Sanwo-Olu that no fatality was recorded at the Lekki Toll Gate incident based on visits to hospitals, mortuaries, both private and public.
“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” apology to Dr. Ope Banwo. The attendant damage was extensive and massive.
“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,” he said.