Chairman of South-west Governors’ Forum and Ondo state Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, has said the #EndSARS protests in Lagos were coordinated attacks aimed at weaking the economic base of the South-west. He likened the state to a war zone, given the extent of the destruction visited on the economy of the state.
Akeredolu stated this during the tour of destroyed properties by governors and ministers of the South-west extraction that visited the state on assessment of the damages trailing the protests.
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,” Akeredolu said.
Akeredolu said the regression into savagery exposed South-west’s vulnerability to manipulation by divisive elements bent on annihilating the region’s economic prosperity and destroying its common heritage.
The Forum demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the destruction of public assets and private businesses in Lagos.
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. 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.