Members of the House of Representatives from the South-West have warned Nigerians from other geopolitical zones against turning the South-West, especially Lagos State, into a battleground over the ongoing #EndSARS protests, which have been allegedly hijacked by hoodlums.
The South-West caucus, at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, condemned the attacks on places of Yoruba heritage, as well as businesses and assets belonging to leaders in the geopolitical zone.
Leader of the caucus, Mr Femi Fakeye, who was accompanied by lawmakers from the South-West states, said, “We appeal to all Nigerians at this point not to turn the South-West into a battleground. There are those who are not from the South-West. Yes, it is one Nigeria but everybody knows where they come from.
“We don’t want the South-West, particularly Lagos, which is accommodating to everybody and anybody, to be turned into a battleground by those who will not consider themselves stakeholders. We are stakeholders from the South-West. We don’t want the South-West to burn. This is not 1964 to 1965 – the days of ‘Wetie.’
“We don’t want anything like that. We admonish our youths to eschew violence and further civil unrest. We want the youth to come back home, sit down and have a rethink, and get out of the mindset of violence; we don’t want any further violence. We want the youth to, please, sheathe their swords, stay home and stay calm.”
According to him, the point of the protest has been made as the statement of the protesters has been heard clearly, not only in Nigeria but across the globe.
Suspected hoodlums had attacked several places in Oyo and Lagos states, as well as businesses allegedly linked to a former Governor of Lagos and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, among others.
Fakeye said the caucus commiserated with the families who had lost their loved ones, as well as those injured or victimised.
The caucus also appealed to the Federal Government to fast-track implementation of all outlined programmes for youth employment, empowerment and the most vulnerable citizens of the country.
It further expressed support for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, with regard to the proposal to pay compensation to all victims of SARS brutality.
The lawmakers stated, “We, as a caucus, affirm the inalienable rights of all Nigerian citizens to peaceful protests. So, to those who have engaged in peaceful protests, it is appropriate and recognised all over the world.
“We condemn the attack on critical infrastructure and other investments in Lagos and other locations in the South-West. Some of those things have been there before people like us were born. So, it pains us to the bone to see that people would now set them on fire and burn them to ashes. It is very wrong and we condemn it.
“We condemn, in very strong and unequivocal terms, the desecration of Yoruba culture and the cultural heritage of the South-West through the unnecessary and unprovoked attacks on different places of our cultural heritage, in particular the palaces of the Oba of Lagos, the Soun of Ogbomoso and other eminent Yoruba cultural leaders.”
They also decried that some political leaders had been assaulted and their investments destroyed, saying, “We don’t like that. We want the whole world to know that we object to and condemn that.”