In the past 13 days, Ogun State and indeed the whole of Nigeria have witnessed resounding protests from a majority youth population, clamouring for an end to the now disbanded SARS; a holistic reform of the Nigeria Police; and a sundry other demands, which have so far significantly disrupted the daily socioeconomic lives of our people.
In solidarity with the totality of peaceful protesters exercising their fundamental rights, I facilitated the immediate release from custody, of over 30 of our youth on behalf of our responsible and responsive Government.
Subsequent protests have however taken a violent turn, with reports & records of violence; burning of Police stations; vandalisation of private & public properties; blockades on major highways, & extortion of innocent citizens at same; & deployment of Okada to transport hoodlums.
Most worrisome are the lynching of a Customs officer by an Okada mob today, and last week’s attack on a top government functionary’s vehicle, which made us consider many options including imposing a state-wide curfew.
However, following my meeting with Security Chiefs in Ogun State today, we have come up with the following measures, subject to review on a 24-hour basis:
1. Immediate closure of all schools (at all levels) till Monday, 26th October, 2020.
2. Suspension of Okada operations across the State all through tomorrow, Wednesday, 21st October, in the first instance.
3. Increased security around correctional facilities & public buildings.
4. Highway blockades and harassment of innocent citizens to no longer be tolerated.
5. Deployment of joint patrol teams of security agencies to ensure no threat to public security.
I am moved by developments to request that youth groups appoint representatives to meet and negotiate with the Ogun State Government, in addition to other steps we have taken, such as the setting up of the Judicial Panel of Investigation.
No right is absolute, and we cannot fold our arms and watch our State descend into anarchy. The State is our first property, our only home.
And our home must be conducive for us, the inhabitants. #BuildingOurFutureTogether #ISEYA #EndSARS #EndSarsProtests
Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, says he is imposing a 24-hour curfew on the state to forestall any incident of violence as a result of the #EndSARS protest.
The governor issued the directive during a special broadcast on Tuesday.
The curfew is expected to commence at 12 midnight and will remain until further notice.
The #EndSARS protest, which began as a peaceful demonstration, has taken a different turn with hoodlums launching attacks on residents, private businesses and government institutions.
Akeredolu, in a statement by Olabode Richard Olatunde, special assistant to the governor on new media, noted that the state has not witnessed any incident of violence arising from the #EndSARS protest, and urged residents to remain patriotic and shun acts of destruction.
“Some Police Stations have been burnt and arms and ammunition carted away. Some lives have been lost and property destroyed. The implications of this for the health of the society can better be imagined.
“We must all resist the temptations to join the bandwagon of directionless and unpatriotic Nigerians. The Government is looking seriously into all these issues with a view to resolving them and giving our youths confidence.
“This Administration has the obligation to protect all citizens including the youths. It will not shirk its responsibility in this regard.
““All bars, banks, shops, petrol stations, shopping malls, markets, motor parks and all public spaces are to comply with this directive forthwith except those on essentials services will be permitted to be on the road. Security agencies have been directed to ensure compliance.”
Akeredolu also apologised to the youth for enduring the circumstances that had led them into agitating for matters that bother on national development.
“We offer our unreserved apologies for the seeming lapses which have contributed, largely, to the current misunderstanding. It is our fervent hope that the state will come out stronger from this experience,” he said.
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