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#EndSARS arson: Southwest governors to youths: Defend our land, people against incursions 

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Aftermath of infiltration of #EndSARS protesters resulting in property destruction and carnage in the Southwest, the six Governors in the states are now counting their losses and have urged youths to rise up to defend the zone, the people and their common heritage.

The governors said the destruction of properties, arson and looting of in the Southwest, especially in Lagos State, had exposed an agenda,  dubiousness and complicity evidencing malice, Persecondnews reports.

The states in the zone are Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti.

The Chairman of Southwest Governor’s Forum and Ondo State Governor  Rotimi Akeredolu said in a statement in Akure that the #EndSARS protest had been hijacked by some people ostensibly to execute a destructive design against the zone.

He said: “The protests started off as genuine, demanding reforms and restitution. The current happenings across the South West, especially Lagos State, have exposed dubiousness and complicity evidencing malice afore-thought.

“We enjoin our youth to 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 social problem is the descent to anarchy. We appeal to them to ‘CALM DOWN’. 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, resolutely with him at this trying period.

“We should NOT allow brigandage and wanton destruction of lives and property within our walls in the Southwest. 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.’’

On the Lekki shooting, the governors also said: “We note, with great relief, the confirmation by the Governor 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 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.

“lt is becoming very clear that the conflagration may have been caused by deliberate deployment “a 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

“Resent development lives us with no other option than to believe that there may have been other reasons for the continued protests, well-coordinated and funded.’’

The governors blamed the spread of fake news and videos which followed an allegation of shooting by some soldiers with a claim of heavy casualty figure at the Lekki Toll Gate, Victoria Island, Lagos,on the subsequent loss of lives and property.

“The governors have, therefore, solidarised 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.

“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, resolutely, with him at this trying period.

“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,’’ the statement said.

The governors commiserated with Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, on the sacrilege committed at his palace and condemned 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.

They appealed to the youths, 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. We appeal to the young ones again to suspend the #ENDSARS protest, remain calm and vigilant.’’

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