Willy Eya and Lukman Olabiyi
Critical stakeholders in the South West including governors and traditional rulers have called for the review of reports of constitutional conferences, including the 2014 National Conference.
They made the call in a communique issued after a meeting also attended by ministers from the South-West following the EndSARS protest mayhem in Lagos, yesterday.
It was also attended by a presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
The communique signed by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and the Governor of Ondo State/Chairman South-West Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu equally called for the implementation of some of the recommendations of the conferences, especially with reference to security, economy and equal treatment for citizens all over the country.
The meeting commended the Federal Government for its responsiveness to the initial demands of the EndSARS demonstrators and the firm handling of the aftermaths of the protest.
It called for an adjustment of the security architecture to adequately address the threats and realities of insecurity in the country.
“There is need to undertake preventive actions aimed at prevention of repeat of what happened in the country following the EndSARS demonstrators. Security needs to be strengthened in all states.
“We wish to encourage the Nigeria Police by responding to their needs and appeal to them to do more to protect lives and properties and enhance security all over the country.
“We call for specific measures and proposals to repair damage done to the physical infrastructure and economic assets of the South-West,” the communique said.
The South-West governors and monarchs said the prolonged closure of border had caused economic difficulties for the people of the region.
“The border closure should be re-examined to alleviate problems of the people in the border communities and prices of some essential commodities.
“There is need to review the closure and permit resumption of economic and trading activities.”
The meeting said a comprehensive programme that would address youth employment and empowerment should be prioritised and ensure closer coordination and complementarity between the states and the federal government.
“In this regard, the curricular of tertiary institutions should be reviewed, with emphasis placed on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
“We urge that every effort should be made to resolve the impasse between ASUU and the federal government so that students can return to school in earnest,´´ they said.
On the destructive and dangerous potency of fake news, the communique called for the use of the 2015 Cyber Act.
“We call on Federal Government to use the instrumentality of existing laws and those regulations bench-marked from other countries to provide safeguards against the spread of fake news.
“Federal government should ensure that technology is used effectively for the advancement of the Nigerian Security and not its destruction, by working with the technology cum social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The regime of checks and gate keeping should be fully employed.”
The meeting hosted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also had Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammad Adamu and Director General, Directorate of State Security (DSS) in attendance.
The meeting called to evaluate and proffer solution to crisis rocking the region was also attended by governors, all ministers from the region, and paramount rulers.
In his opening remarks, Governor Akeredolu, said the the meeting was called for all the stakeholders in the region to address various challenges facing the region.
He said everybody was worried and concerned over recent situation in the region, especially, a peaceful youths protest that later snowedballed into mayhem which Lagos suffered most.
“What we have seen recently in the region in few days, we believe something has to be done. We are still going back to our respective states to meet all the revelant stakeholders as well ; such civil society organizations, traders and their various associations, and all the security agencies, we want to find last solution to youths unrest. Everybody here has a role to play in this mission, because what we witness was an attack on on our heritage,” he said.
Prof. Gambari, leader of Federal Government’s delegation, said President Buhari was fully aware of what happened and was putting critical measures in place to check reoccurrence.
He said Federal Government recognised the need to reform police.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi in his remark, charged political leaders not to wait till when there was crisis or election period before meetings with traditional rulers.
He said the monarchs were not competing with political leaders and should be seen as partner in progress.
Aalafin of Oyo, Oba Adeyemi said the issue on ground was complex and complicated and did not start. He warned that the country cannot progress without restructuring because many things needed to be addressed, especially issue of security structure, resource control and regionalism .
Oba Adeyemi said there was too much power at the centre (federal) and it was affecting individuals, tribe,, ethnic, and region.
Other monarchs who also spoke on the issue of restructuring, poverty, unemployment, insecurity included Olugbo of Igbo, Oba Akinrutan Obateru, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, Alawe of Ilawe, Oba Adebanji Alabi, Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbele and others.