WE commend the sustained efforts of the Lagos State Government to rally the residents of the state towards putting behind the recent harrowing experience of arson and looting of government and private property following the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Apart from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s personal rhapsodic open letter to the people, the state government on Sunday, October 25, 2020, cautioned against fake news and inciting messages circulating in the social media aimed at provoking inter-ethnic bloodshed.
The state government reminded the people that Lagos had been the melting pot of Nigeria where we have historically coexisted harmoniously. He reminded the residents that the tragedy affected everyone, irrespective of their ethnic, religious or regional backgrounds. He urged the people to disregard attempts by “jingoists” to worsen the situation, assuring that the government will continue to protect all law-abiding residents of the state.
These calming messages are the balms we need at this tensile moment. This is what true leadership is all about. We congratulate Governor Sanwo-Olu for the able and mature manner with which he has handled the crisis despite the fact that his mother’s residence was among those affected.
We have no choice but to come together to rebuild not just the damages left in the wake of this crisis but also faith and mutual confidence in one another. It is heartwarming that those we entrusted with our electoral mandate in Lagos State have not failed when we need them most.
It is only those who have not personally experienced the trauma of ethnic wars such as the Rwanda and Burundi genocides of 1994 that will toy with the expensive idea of it. It is always wiser to pull back from the brink on time than to dabble headlong into a quixotic venture that no one knows the course it will take and who will be affected.
The irony of such a deadly adventure is that no side quite wins, and all sides bleed. And at the end, people will still come back and live together. Lagos has been the economic Big Apple of Nigeria and West Africa; it will always be. It is the state government’s capacity to comfortably accommodate the diversity of populations that drives its prosperity and progress. We have no choice but to maintain this legacy.
We believe that the looting and arson were pure cases of criminality which had no bearing to the youth protests to end bad policing and bad governance. We must vehemently resist efforts to politicise it.
We must rally behind the Sanwo-Olu government. At the same time, we must assiduously engage with the Commission of Inquiry on the EndSARS and Toll Gate. The rogue soldiers, arsonists and looters must be unmasked and brought to justice.