Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has called for an immediate stop to the destruction of lives and billions of naira worth of property in the South-West, warning that, if the violence persisted, the organisation might be forced to roll out its men to guarantee security.
Lamenting the Lekki Tollgate killings and the subsequent wanton destruction of lives and property, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi (alias “Askari,”) Deputy President to the late founder, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, said in a statement yesterday that rioters should withdraw from the streets and end the era of violence.
OPC also called for President Muhammadu Buhari and Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwoolu to immediately empanel commissions of enquiry at both the Federal and state levels to investigate, identify and sanction those behind Tuesday’s shooting of unarmed protesters at Lekki in Lagos.
“Such a heinous crime must not be swept under the carpet; or else we shall be nurturing a licence-to-kill mentality in our military men and security operatives as well as open up our civilian citizenry to the abuse and impunity of those supposed to protect us,” Afolabi said.
OPC noted that the peaceful conduct of the #EndSARS protests had been hijacked by hoodlums who now found an opportunity to loot, cause mayhem and destroy the economic basis of the region.
“Private businesses, many of whom like OPC backed the highly credible #EndSARS campaign, should not suffer for the ineptitude of the government and the criminality of evil policemen.
And OPC as an organisation will not fold its arms and watch the region turned into the scapegoat of the #EndSARS protests,” the OPC Deputy President said.
Afolabi issued the statement yesterday after the OPC executives held a meeting at the Century Hotel, in Okota-Isolo area of Lagos, to review events of the last few days.
However, the organisation noted that every agitation must end on the negotiation table and time had come for campaigners to step back and see whether or not the government would fulfil its promise to end SARS and bring about massive reforms in the police.
In his own words, Afolabi: “The #EndSARS campaigns got our unflinching support and we fully backed the protesters.
Not only is it their legitimate and constitutionallyguaranteed right to express our collective pain, but indeed and in fact that arm of the Nigeria Police had turned itself into an unruly terrorist clique with clear and verifiable abuses of citizens’ rights to life, movement and liberty.
As citizens, those protesting had a duty to denounce SARS and FSARS operatives in order to prevent them from continuing their evil business as usual.”
However, according to Afolabi, the current reality was that the destruction of businesses and tools of businesses amounted to a huge loss to the people of the South-West, many of whom owned vandalised businesses as well as those who were gainfully employed in those places and could end up losing their jobs.
He said OPC would not tolerate a situation where South-West citizens became the biggest losers of the antiSARS campaign.
Commiserating with citizens who lost relations, friends and property, Afolabi prayed that God would console them and restore their lost property.
Protesters have attacked and in some cases burnt several private and public enterprises, including: Oriental Hotel, Lekki Tollgate, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Polaris Bank all on Admiralty Way in Victoria Island, over 30 buses belonging to the Lagos State Government BRT Company and the BRT terminal at Oyingbo.
Other fire-bombed facilities are: Governor Sanwoolu’s family home in Surulere, the Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Secretariat, the Television Continental (TVC) building, over 20 police stations, the Nigerian Ports Authority Building at Marina Lagos, Shoprite and other commercial malls.