*visits Soun of Ogbomoso over Sunday’s attack on his palace
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Tuesday declared that the ongoing EndSARS protests across Nigeria over calls to end police brutality, are a wake-up call to the leadership of the country to put things in order.
Speaking during a visit to the palace of the Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi which was attacked by protesters on Sunday, the governor said unless governments at all levels quickly look at what to do to address the challenges facing the country, including that of youth unemployment, the protests, which are the outcome of pent-up anger, might continue.
The governor stated that there is the need to without wasting time engage Nigeria youths positively, saying, “let mealso say that this is a wake up call for us. As leaders, we must ensure that we quickly look at how to make most of our youths engaged, otherwise, this will definitely continue,” .
Speaking further, Governor Makinde said: “I did not expect the level of destruction we have witnessed here. I accept the fact that peaceful protest is legitimate and it is guaranteed under our Constitution; but this type of destruction should not have happened at all”.
According to the governor, “this is because the state government is not in control of SARS”, saying, “even though they will say the governor is the Chief Security Officer for the state, I am not in control of the Commissioner of Police as the governor of Oyo State. I am not in control of who they will post here as Commissioner. We just work with whoever we meet along the way.”
“We will have to engage with our people. At the heart of this is not just the issue of SARS. There has been pent-up anger. The issue of the pandemic, unemployment and other factors are those things that led to what we are seeing today” he said.
The governor added, “So, I am sincerely sorry for this level of damage, sir. Your children did it. That is part of the price we have to pay for the current state of the country. Kabiyesi, as a government, we will do everything possible to ensure there is palliative. We will also ensure that we beautify the structure.”
“I have also seen the vehicles they destroyed. They have to replace the wind-shields and all of that. Some, they may have to replace the vehicle completely. I saw a Toyota RAV 4 car which is almost completely destroyed. So, I will ask the Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters to come for the assessment.
“I will release N100 million Naira immediately to commence the repairs on the things that were damaged in the palace while I will go to town to engage our youth protesters.”
Speaking further, the governor noted that aside addressing the issue of police brutality and pervasive injustice in the country, it has also become expedient for the leadership to urgently address the issue of youth unemployment, as “some of the anger we are witnessing will be a tip of the iceberg if we don’t find things for the youths to do, because an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”
“Assuming most of the youths are engaged, this destruction would not have happened. Majority of them are not engaged. So, if an opportunity like this surfaces, the pent-up anger will definitely flow over.Kabiyesi, I want to believe that you are not their real target. Because if you were, immediately they entered, they would have attacked you. But they were looking for where to destroy to draw the attention of the government to their side. I am not supporting what they have done but it has been done already and we have to engage them.Let me also say that this is a wake up call for us. As leaders, we must ensure that we quickly look at things to do to make most of our youths engaged, otherwise, this will definitely continue.”
On steps already taken to ensure that sanity returns to Ogbomoso and that protesters are secured, the governor said: “I have deployed Operation Burst in here and asked the Police, who are the object of all of these attacks, to stay at the back until we are able to engage everybody and have a path to a lasting peace, not only in Ogbomoso, but across the state.