…inspects vandalised Soun’s palace, approves N100m for renovation
…visits families of Isiaka Jimoh, others
By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
The Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Tuesday that the ongoing protests rocking the country over calls to end police brutality are a wake-up call to the leadership of the country to put things in order.
Governor Makinde, who stated this during a visit to the palace of the Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, which was attacked by protesters on Sunday, added that 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 he noted are the outcome of pent-up anger might continue.
A statement by the Chief press secretary to the governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor while visiting the Soun and the families of the slain Isiaka Jimoh and others who lost their lives during the #ENDSARS protests in Ogbomoso at the weekend, went around the palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso to assess the level of damage done to the historic palace.
The palace was vandalised by irate youths during a visit to the monarch by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, on Sunday.
The governor also instructed the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Bayo Lawal, and the Caretaker Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government, to make an evaluation of the vehicles and other items destroyed at the palace with a view to fixing or replacing them.
“Let me also say that this is a wakeup 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,” the governor said.
Governor Makinde, who approved an immediate release of N100 million (One Hundred Million Naira) to the Soun of Ogbomoso for the renovation of the palace, also made a commitment to the families of the slain individuals to work with them to know the areas the government could be of help to them, in order to cushion the effects of the losses of their loved ones. He also gave N1 million each to the families of the deceased.
Governor Makinde explained that beyond the #ENDSARS protest, most Nigerians have become frustrated over prevailing harsh economic reality in the country, stating that while his government is not against peaceful protests, protesters must be responsible enough to voice their concerns peacefully.
He promised that the state government would work more at ensuring that youths in the state are meaningfully engaged.
Governor Makinde stated that aside from 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, saying: “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.
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 lasting peace, not only in Ogbomoso but across the state.
In his response, the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Ajagungbade III, appreciated the governor’s visit, urging those in government to wake up to their responsibilities, even as he assured that the traditional institution would continue to play its role in supporting the government for a better society.
“Your Excellency, I appreciate you and your entourage. Seeing you here and your concern over this incident is commendable. As you have said, the country itself will rely on people like you who are holding very important posts for taking care of your area.
“We are not very happy seeing our youths engaging in vandalism in the name of protests like this, because they do not have any job. This is important and that is why they have the mind to do bad things. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to ensure the youths are employed so that we will stop witnessing things like this.
“We are not happy about what they have done. First, from the outside, they were stoning us right in the palace.
“So, when you go to your executive meeting, think of something you can do for the youths in each area so that they will be engaged in lucrative ventures; be it vocational jobs, civil service jobs or offer them loans and monitor the businesses.
“Oyo State, as a whole, belongs to you and you have to take care of it. We, the traditional rulers, are also trying our best in taking care of our people. We want Nigeria to be peaceful. It is catastrophic to have no means to eat. I pray God will help you. The money you gave to us, we are grateful for that.
“LAUTECH is another issue, what are you doing about it and the road you are constructing, God will see you through. God will help the government to complete all these laudable projects and you will succeed.”
While speaking during visits to the families of slain individuals, Governor Makinde commiserated with the families over the death of their loved ones, praying that the families, Ogbomosoland and Oyo State in general, will not know sorrow any longer.
He said: “There is no amount of money we can give to you that can pacify the irreplaceable loss of your child. But I can assure you that the government will assist you. You will be given N1million now and they will come back to ask you what the government can further do to help you. We don’t know the kind of potential that the deceased possessed but it is rather painful that his life was cut short at a very young.”