By Babalola Seyi, Lagos
The attacks on public infrastructure and private businesses across Lagos state were aimed at weakening economic power of the South West, Governors from the region have declared.
The Governors spoke on Sunday after undertaking a tour of public assets and private properties destroyed in Wednesday’s coordinated arson in Lagos State.
The Governors, who undertook the tour with Ministers from the region, told newsmen from the violence that resulted from the #EndSARS protest there was an agenda beyond the youth demonstration against police brutality.
Chairman of South West Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, 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 Toll Gate 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.”
The Governors also condemned “sacrilegious” attack on the palace of the Oba of Lagos and decried the “vile attack” on All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and businesses in which he has interest.
They believed the regression into savagery exposed Southwest’s vulnerability to manipulation by divisive elements bent on annihilating the region’s economic prosperity and destroying its common heritage.
The Governors applauded Sanwo-Olu for his patience and the manner with which he handled the situation.
The Forum demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the destruction of public assets and private businesses in Lagos.
“We commend Gov. Sanwo-Olu for his administrative acumen. We note his patience and understanding in the face of unwarranted provocation by agents of darkness.
“We stand resolutely with him at this trying period. We urged our youths to rise up and defend our land against diabolical incursion ravaging our space. We cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our heritage destroyed,” they added.
Minister of Works and Housing, 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.
Fashola hailed Sanwo-Olu for his “untiring effort” to restore peace in the State, cautioning those posting inflammatory comments in the social media to desist from the act.
He urged all Lagos residents to unite and collectively address the cause of the violence, stressing that the State Government needed the support of all in unraveling the truth.
Other Governors in the delegation included Oyo and Ekiti states, Engr. Seyi Makinde and Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Other FEC members, who visited Sanwo-Olu include Minister for Sport and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, Minister for Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Industry, Trade and Development, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Niger Delta, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, and Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite.