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South-West governors, ministers visit Lagos, urge for peace

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South-West governors and ministers visited Lagos on Sunday to commiserate with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Lagosians over the EndSARS protest mayhem in the state.

The visitors, who also called for peace to reign, went round some of the property that were destroyed during the mayhem.

Sanwo-Olu, in company of state government officials, also took the South-West Governors and Ministers to some affected areas including Igbosere High Court, City Hall, Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, Lekki Toll Plaza, NPA Headquarter, among others.

Speaking after the inspection of the destroyed property, the Chairman of South-West Governors’ Forum, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, said that what happened in Lagos had impacted negatively on the whole region.

“The Governors of the SouthWest States of Nigeria wish to solidarise with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo Olu, on the unfortunate occurrences of the past few days in Lagos State, which have impacted, negatively, on the whole region.

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“It is disquieting, to assert the least, that a protest, widely acclaimed as peaceful and purpose-driven, has been hijacked by some people, ostensibly to execute a destructive design.

“We commiserate with the families of victims of violence across Lagos State and slain policemen. We pray that the Almighty grant 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,´´ Akeredolu, who is also the Governor of Ondo State, said.

He said that the demands of the peaceful protesters were already being met, regretting how the situation turned to mayhem.

The chairman said that the recent development left no other option than to believe that there might have been other reasons for the continued protests, well coordinated and funded.

According to him, the spread of fake news and videos, which followed an allegation of shooting by some soldiers with aclaimed heavy casualty figure at the Lekki Toll Gate, Victoria Island, Lagos, is primarily responsible for the subsequent loss of lives and property.

He commiserated with the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, on the sacrilege committed at his palace and condemned the vile attack on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and destruction of businesses where it was believed he has interest.

“We commend the Governor of Lagos State for his administrative acumen. We note his patience and understanding in the face of unwarranted provocation by agents of darkness.

“We stand, resoluteiy, with him at this trying period. We should not allow brigandage and wanton destruction of Iife and property within our walls in the South West.

“As we await reports from relevant agencies and action of government, we appeal to the young ones again to suspend the #ENDSARS protest, remain calm and vigilant.

“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 a sodal problem is the descent to anarchy. We appeal to them to ‘CALM DOWN’,´´ Akeredolu said.

He said that the governors were deeply concerned with the ease with which public buildings, utilities, police stations and investments of people had been burnt, in spite the proximity of security agencies in those areas.

The Ondo State Governor, on behalf of the South-West Governors called on the heads of all security agencies to be alive to their obligations to defend the country.

According to him, the relevant security agencies should 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,´´ he said.

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said that the visit was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Fashola, a former Governor of Lagos State, said that words were not enough to describe the extent of the destruction wreaked by the arsonists.

He commended Sanwo-Olu for his “untiring effort” to restore peace in the state, while cautioning those posting inflammatory comments in the social media to desist from the act.

The minister urged all Lagos residents to unite and collectively address the cause of the violence, as the state government needed the support of all in unraveling the truth.

Other governors in the delegation were those of Oyo and Ekiti States, Seyi Makinde and Kayode Fayemi, respectively.

Also present were the Minister for Sport and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare, the Minister for Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Development, Otunba Niyi Adebayo.

Others were the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora, the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, the Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

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