A Cross-Section of Ministers, Governors from the South-West During a Visit to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in Lagos Photo: Ocdn.Eu.Com

Wanton attacks in Lagos savage, planned to weaken South-West economy ─Governors

*The development leaves us with no other option than to believe that there may be other reasons for continued, well-coordinated and funded protests ─S’West Governors

*Insist no governor has powers to authorise deployment of military personnel in Nigeria

*Lagos State reviews curfew timeline, directs all public and private schools to remain closed, says Gbenga Omotoso, Commissioner for Information and Strategy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Following the recent protests and attendant destruction of lives, businesses, public and private properties by hoodlums in several parts of the geo-political zone in general and Lagos in particular, some South-West Governors and Ministers arrived in Lagos Sunday, October 25 to commiserate with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

ConsumerConnect reports the visiting Ministers and Governors met with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos Government House, Marina, on Lagos Island.

The members of the delegation expressed shock over the extent of the barefaced devastation of public assets and private properties by mobsters who reportedly had hijacked the hitherto peaceful #EndSARS protests in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu, who received them, showed them the pictorial evidence of the violence before visiting some of the torched public and private assets, including the Lagos High Court, Nigerian Ports Authority building, and the Forensic Lab.

Governor Sanwo-Olu showed the visiting delegation pictorials of what had happened in Lagos 

Governor Akeredolu, Chairman of South-West Governors’ Forum, at a joint press conference after the tour, likened Lagos to a war zone in view of the extent of the destruction.

He disclosed that the attacks in Lagos State were planned and targeted at weakening the economy of South-Western states of the country.

Akeredolu stated: “The regression into savagery exposed South-West’s vulnerability to manipulation by divisive elements bent on annihilating the region’s economic prosperity and destroying its common heritage.

“We are deeply concerned with the ease with which public buildings, utilities, Police stations, and investment of our people have been burnt despite the proximity of security agencies in those areas.

“The development leaves us with no other option than to believe that there may be other reasons for continued protests, well-coordinated and funded.

He further disclosed stressed “we are particularly worried that 48 hours after the unfortunate incident at the Lekki Toll Gate by persons adorning military outfit, 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 military deployment. No Governor has powers to authorise deployment of military personnel in Nigeria.”

The South-West Governors’ Forum, therefore, demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the destruction of public assets and private businesses in the Centre of Excellence and economic nerve centre of the country.

On the visit are Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Honourable Minister for Interior; Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister for Power and Housing; Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health; Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment; and Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs.

Others are Mr. Sunday Dare, Honourable Minister for Youth and Sports Development; and Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister for Mines and Steel Development.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State), Governor (Dr.) Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State) and Governor Seyi Makinde (Oyo State) were also part of the visiting team to sympathise with the Government and people of Lagos State.

According to the Ministers, the Federal Government had directed them to embark on an on-the-spot assessment tour on the damaged infrastructure in the #EndSARS protests said to have been hijacked by hoodlums.

As part of the tour, the entourage also stopped over at the Nigerian Port Authority Office and the Lagos State DNA Forensic Centre that was set ablaze by hoodlums.

It is recalled that Sanwo-Olu Friday, October 23, had gone round the Lagos metropolis to inspect the level of havoc wreaked in the state in the wake of the wanton destruction of lives.

The governor visited Local Government Secretariats, Police Stations, and other facilities, including Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government, Ajeromi Divisional Police Headquarters, Layeni, and Amukoko Police Stations, Lagos State Public Works Office at Ojodu, and Ojodu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) terminal.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Ministry of Justice has said it will prosecute suspects who took advantage of the #EndSARS protests to destroy, and loot public, private property in different parts of the cosmopolitan state.

Justice Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, stated this Saturday, October 24 while urging Lagosians to maintain peace, law, and order in their respective communities.

Justice Moyosore, in pledging the commitment of Sanwo-Olu-led administration to uphold the rule of law at all times, stated that Mrs. Olayinka Adeyemi, Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, had gone round relevant Police formations with a team of prosecutors to evaluate files of those arrested by the Police.

The exercise, he added, is with a view to determining those that have prima facie case made against them in respect of the latest attacks in Lagos.

In a related development, all public and private schools in Lagos are to remain closed despite relaxation of the curfew.

Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, Honourable Commissioner of Information and Strategy, in a tweet Sunday, disclosed that “the curfew in Lagos State has been reviewed.

“Restriction time is now 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Lagosians are enjoined to plan their journey times as they go about their lawful businesses.

“All schools remain shut till further notice.”

Prior to Omotoso’s announcement of the new measures, private schools in the state were already preparing to resume Monday, October 26.

Initially, Amusa Olawale of the National Association of Private Schools in Lagos, in a statement titled, ‘Reopening of Schools after #ENDSARs Protests’, had informed its members of the appropriate authorities’ approval to resume classes.

The statement said: “It is a pleasure to inform you that our Hon. Commissioner has given approval to the resumption of schools on Monday, October 26, 2020.

“Members are to abide by the curfew requirements and any other directives of Lagos State Governor relating curfew and #EndSARS protests.

“We must equally study security situations in areas where we operate, be sensitive to any sign of disturbance, and adhere strictly to COVID-19 Protocols.

“To justify the kind gestures of the Commissioner, we must pay attention to the safety of our learners, staff, and parents of our schools.”

Additional reporting by Emmanuel Akosile and Emmanuel Akosile

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