South-West political leaders and elders, including governors, ministers and royal fathers, have demanded adjustment to the security architecture of the country to adequately address the threats and realities of insecurity in the country, saying there should be more police presence in communities in the region.
The governors, ministers and traditional rulers made the call on Sunday in a 13-point communiqué issued at the end of the crucial parley which took place at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja and signed by Governor of Ondo State and Chairman of South-West Governors’ Forum, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, and the Ooni of Ife, Eniitan Ogunwusi.
The call came aftermath of deliberation to find a way out to address the key issues raised by the #EndSARS protesters, a development which later led to wanton destruction of public and private properties following the hijack of the peaceful protest by hoodlums.
The governors are; Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN (Ondo), Engnr Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Mra Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Mr Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
The Chief of Staff (COS) to the president, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari led the Federal Government delegation to the parley with the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and other security chiefs in attendance.
The Ooni of Ife, Ona Ogunwusi, the Alaafin of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111; the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu; the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Sotobi; the Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Olateru Olagbegi; the Orangun of Oke- Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin; the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ogunoye, among others were in attendance.
Also in attendance were ministers, including Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, Hon Olurunnimbe Mamora, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Olamilekan Adegbite, Mr Niyi Adebayo and Mr Sunday Dare.
The political leaders and royal fathers, however, expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration on the responsiveness to the initial demands of the #EndSARS protesters and for his firm handling of the aftermaths of the protest.
This was just as they demanded a review of reports of past constitutional conferences, including 2014 National Conference and implementation of some of the recommendations especially with reference to security, economy, equal treatment for citizens all over the country.
“The security architecture of the country requires adjustment to adequately address the threats and realities of insecurity in the country. There should be more police presence in communities in the South-West states.
“Review of reports of constitutional conferences including 2014 National Conference and implement some of the recommendations especially with reference to security, economy, equal treatment for citizens all over the country,” the communiqué said.
The communiqué, while observing that there were legitimate concerns contained in the initial #EndSARS movement, but which was later hijacked by those it described as criminals and other elements with ulterior and negative force, said there was a need to undertake preventive actions aimed at prevention of repeat of what happened in the country, declaring that security needed to be strengthened in all states in the country.
“We wish to encourage the Nigeria Police by responding to their needs and appeal to them to do more to protect lives and properties and enhance security all over the country,” the communiqué said.
The governors, ministers and traditional rulers, while calling for specific measures and proposals to repair the damage done to the physical infrastructure and economic assets of the South- West aftermath of the protests, noted that the prolonged closure of the border had caused economic difficulties and should be re-examined to alleviate problems of the people in the border communities as well as in addressing the prices of some essential commodities.
According to them, there is need to review the closure and permit resumption of economic and trading activities, even they also called for prioritisation of “comprehensive programme that addresses youth employment and empowerment” with “closer coordination and complementarity between the states and the Federal Government.”
“In this regard, the curricular of tertiary institutions should be reviewed, with emphasis placed on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship,” they said in the communiqué.
On the issue of fake news, the South-West governors and others expressed worries about its damaging and negative impact, calling on the Federal Government to use the instrumentality of existing laws and those regulations bench-marked from other countries to provide safeguards against its spread.
The communiqué, while noting that the 2015 Cyber Act could also be fully used in this regard, charged the Federal Government to ensure that technology was used effectively for the advancement of the Nigerian Security and not its destruction by working with the technology cum social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among others.
“The regime of checks and gatekeeping should be fully employed,” it added.
Speaking further, the communiqué demanded that every effort be made to resolve the impasse between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government so that students can return to school in earnest.
“We urge that every effort should be made to resolve the impasse between ASUU and the federal government so that students can return to school in earnest,” the communiqué said.