*says peaceful protest is guaranteed under our constitution .
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Governor Seyi Makinde on Tuesday declared his total support for the on going EndSARS protest across the country insisting ” peaceful protest is guaranteed under our constitution ” .
The governor stated this in Ibadan while addressing the EndSARS protesters that stormed the Oyo State secretariat in the evening in continuation of their protest.
Governor Makinde pointed out that the on going protests across the country”are not just about SARS”, saying “there is a need for employment for the youths. There is anger in the land. Job opportunities are few and far in-between. So, as leaders, we have to do more. Our youths have to be productive. We have to create opportunities for you”. “Peaceful protest is guaranteed under our constitution, but I want to beg you, all of the protesters that have been detained will be released. I have spoken with the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney-General of the State. But we cannot do some of the good things we have in an atmosphere of chaos”, he said.
Governor Makinde added, ” I have listened to you. I have the Commissioner for Youths here. He will see and engage with your leaders.First, I would have been with you earlier but I had to go to Ogbomoso. I went out there to see things for myself. I visited the Kabiyesi and also met with the families that lost their loved ones. So, what I am saying is, I am with you 101 per cent”. “I want to thank you because you are Nigerian youths and you are not lazy. You are not violent; you did not vandalise anything. What you have done is to show peacefully that certain policies of government, especially the brutality by the Nigeria Police Force should be addressed.”
Assuring that his government would follow the path of constructive engagement to diffuse the tension in the land the governor reiterated that he does not want any further loss of life and that “everyone must behave responsibly.”
“As a government in Oyo State, we have to find the means to diffuse the tension. And one of the things we have in view is to follow the path of constructive engagement and there has to be a way to get that engagement going. The President and the IGP said SARS has been disbanded. In Oyo State, hold me responsible and accountable. I don’t want any further loss of lives. All of us must take that responsibility to behave responsibly”.
The governor stressed, “we will have to find a way to engage ourselves. There will be palliatives that the Oyo State government will roll out within the next one week. All the stakeholders must find a means to get people who will represent them”
“There is no way we can have any meaningful discussion in an atmosphere of chaos.When somebody said we should use force, I said we cannot use force, because I came to you when I was looking for votes. You organised yourselves and voted for me. And it is now time for me to listen to you and ensure that whatever it is that you want done by your government, we will find a means to do it.
“But the major relevant issue is that we need to provide employment, means of livelihood for our youths and, on that, I am with you. I identify with you. And collectively, we will make our state and country better.”