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#EndSARS: ‘Rise up and defend our land’ -Southwest governors tell Yoruba youths

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The governors of the South-West geo-political zone, under the leadership of Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu has urged Yoruba youths to rise up and defend the zone “against diabolical incursion ravaging our space”.

The governors made the call on Sunday during a solidarity visit to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

The visiting governors also used the occasion to tour public and private assets destroyed a day after the now-infamous shootings at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos.

At a joint press conference held after the tour, chairman of Southwest Governors’ Forum and Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, likened Lagos to a war zone, given the extent of the destruction.

He said the violence that resulted from the #EndSARS protest left much to be desired, stressing that there was an agenda beyond the youth demonstration against police brutality.

He said: “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.

“We are particularly worried that 48 hours after the unfortunate incident at the Lekki Tollgate 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 governors also condemned “sacrilegious” attack on the palace of the Oba of Lagos and decried what they called “vile attack” on All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and businesses in which he has interest.

Akeredolu said the regression into savagery exposed southwest’s vulnerability to manipulation by divisive elements bent on annihilating the region’s economic prosperity and destroying its common heritage.

The governors applauded Sanwo-Olu for his patience and the manner with which he handled the situation.

The governors demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the destruction of public assets and private businesses in Lagos.

“We commend Governor Sanwo-Olu 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 urged our youths to rise up and defend our land against diabolical incursion ravaging our space. We cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our heritage destroyed,” Akeredolu said.

The southwest governors unanimously disowned the war-mongering rhetoric of one Adeyinka Grandson, in a video circulating in the social media, urging the Igbos to leave Yorubaland. They urged the Yoruba and non-Yoruba residents in the Southwest to disregard the threat of violence issued in the video, saying the “secessionist” had no authority to speak for the Yoruba.

Minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the visit was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that words were not enough to describe the extent of the destruction wreaked by the arsonists.

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

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