Oyo state governor 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 round 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 wake up 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.
“So, I am sincerely sorry for this level of damage, sir. Your children did it. That is part of the price we have to pay for the current state of the country. Kabiyesi, as a government, we will do everything possible to ensure there is palliative. We will also ensure that we beautify the structure.
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.