23rd October, 2020
The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) on Friday called for an immediate stop to the destruction of lives and property in the South-West following the #EndSARS protests.
The socio-cultural group, loyal to its late Founder, Dr Frederick Fasheun, made the call in a statement signed by Chief Wasiu Afolabi, its Deputy President.
Rising from an emergency executive meeting, Afolabi warned that if the violence persisted, the organisation might be forced to roll out its men with a view to guarantee security.
The group lamented over the Lekki Tollgate shootings and the subsequent wanton destruction of lives and property, urging the rioters to withdraw from the streets and end the orgy of violence.
It urged President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to immediately empanel commissions of enquiry at both federal and state levels to investigate, identify and sanction those behind Tuesday’s shooting of unarmed protesters at Lekki.
“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.
He said that OPC noted with dismay the peaceful conduct of the #EndSARS protesters allegedly hijacked by hoodlums who now found an opportunity to loot, cause mayhem and destroy the economic basis of the region.
Afolabi said: “OPC as an organisation will not fold its arms and watch the region turned into the scapegoat of #EndSARS protests.
“However, the organisation noted that every agitation must end on the negotiation table and time has 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.”
Afolabi said that OPC supports a peaceful #EndSARS campaign and fully backed the protesters, but condemned the destruction of businesses, particularly in the Southwest.
This, they said, might lead to loss of jobs by those who are gainfully employed in the affected places.
He said that OPC would not tolerate a situation where the Southwest region becomes the biggest losers of the anti-SARS campaign.
Afolabi commiserated with the families who lost their relations, friends and property in the violence that engulfed some states and prayed to God to console them and restore their lost property.