Monarchs and political leaders in the South-West region of the country met on Sunday to dialogue on solutions following the aftermath of the #ENDSARS protest.
At the meeting, the leaders tasked the Nigerian Government on creating more jobs and engage the youth both at the state and federal levels.
President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Chairman of the region’s Governors’ Forum and Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Oba Adebanji Alabi; Alawe of Ilawe Oba Adebanji Alabi, Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunye, and Orangun of Oke-Ila Oba Adedokun Abolarin,
Also present were Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and Minister of State for Niger Delta, Tayo Alasoadura.
Other are Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, Ayangbunre of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle and Owa-Ooye of Okemesi Ekiti Oba Adedeji Gbadebo.
At the end of the meeting, the political leaders demanded the repair of destroyed economic assets of the region and pushed for the call to decentralise the policing and security system of the country.
In the communiqué signed on behalf of the participants by Governor Akeredolu and Ooni of Ife, leaders of South-West also demanded a review of reports of past constitutional conferences including the 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 reads, “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.
“A comprehensive programme that addresses youth employment and empowerment should be prioritised. Closer coordination and complementarity between the states and Federal Government. Curricular of tertiary institutions should be reviewed, with emphasis placed on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
“We recognise the damaging and negative impact of fake and false news, and we worry about its destructive and dangerous potency. We call on Federal Government to use the instrumentality of existing laws and regulations bench-marked from other countries to provide safeguards against the spread of fake news. The 2015 Cyber Act must also be fully used.”
Akeredolu called for the need to restore peace in the South-West and address the issues that made youths to be used by those, who orchestrated the destruction.
“What we witnessed in the violence showed that something needs to be done to address the underlying issues and come out with solutions. We must be able to sustain the peace in our region at all cost,” he said.
The Oba of Lagos blamed politicians as the cause of issues that led to the #EndSARS protest, saying unemployment hugely contributed to the problem and large number recorded by the protest in the region.
He also asked President Buhari to devolve more powers to the states.
On his part, the Ooni of Ife stated that politicians were disconnected from the monarchs, adding that politicians only seek the monarchs during the electioneering period.
He said politicians should relate more with monarchs as they are close to the people and are always informed of happenings in the community.
“You should not wait till election days before you reach out to us. This type of meeting should come regularly. We know the good and the bad in our communities but we are under-utilised,” he said.
Prof Gambari, said the President will address the root cause of the #ENDSARS protest and that the protest indicated the frustration of the youth
He promised that the President would carry out the reforms and demand put forward by the youth.
He said, “The purpose of this engagement is to find out what the federal and state governments have done and can do. The Buhari administration is set to address what brought us to this level.
“Our government’s efforts are emerging from multiple levels. The Vice President and governors are designing an engagement framework through the National Economic Council that will be rolled out across states of the federation.
“The government is committed to police reform and community policing that can resolve some of our issues.”