ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF OGUN STATE BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRINCE DAPO ABIODUN, MFR, GOVERNOR OF OGUN STATE, ON MONDAY, 26TH OCTOBER, 2020
My dear people of Ogun State, it is with great delight and relief that I address you today on the State of our dear State, especially as it concerns the #EndSARS protests that have been ravaging our nation in the last few weeks. It is a thing of pride that whilst our State was not spared in the rage that followed the initial protest, we have enjoyed relative peace in comparison with other states.
2. As you may recall, the last two weeks have been tough and challenging , but I want to thank God that the situation is fast returning to normal in our dear State. I must also appreciate all people of goodwill for their spirited efforts towards restoring peace. Specific mention must be made of all our security agencies; particularly our revered Royal Fathers; Religious Leaders; Community Leaders; for the participation in the continuous engagement and moral suasion with our listening Ogun youths and Students that have been largely responsible for the relative peace we have witnessed across the state.
3. The youths in Ogun State have earned national accolades for the largely peaceful manner with which they conducted themselves while the protest lasted, despite infiltration of the initial protest by hoodlums who we have overwhelming evidence came from outside the state.
4. Let me also commend the original conveners of the #EndSARS movement for listening to the voice of reason to suspend the protest. The peaceful protest called our attention to genuine concerns about the mode
of operation and activities of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police. But, it is obvious that this protest was hijacked by hoodlums and other elements who do not share the same ideals as the original conveners of the well intended protest.
5. For us as a Government, we very well acknowledge that peaceful protests are part of the fundamental rights of the people as enshrined in our constitution and other global Charters. That is why I personally ordered all our security agencies in Ogun State to provide security for all protesters. You will also recall that I also ordered that some of the protesters that were arrested be released immediately. In fact, the Office of the State’s Attorney- General was also mandated to review the charges against those arraigned, such that the charges were dropped. That is because our Government also believes in the GOOD GOVERNANCE as demanded by #EndSARS protesters.
6. However, we also owe all the other people of Ogun State the duty to protect their lives and property. We have a responsibility to protect those who are not part of the protest, who wish to go about their legitimate means of livelihood. In this regard, we took some measures to stem the then emerging violent dimension and I am glad that those measures have helped to restore normalcy. However, we are not lowering our guards as there are still reports of isolated disturbance. But our security agencies are on top of the situation. I can assure you that there is no cause for alarm.
7. You will also recall that our State has fully implemented the 5-point resolutions of the National Economic Council meeting of Thursday, 15th October, 2020 following the demands of the #EndSARS protest. On our part, we implemented three additional measures, all of which are aimed at meeting the demands of our youth and giving them assurances of our commitment to faithful implementation of initiatives that will bring lasting solution to brutality of security agencies.
8. We continue to commend all our law enforcement agencies in Ogun State for their maturity, dedication and great restraint in handling the #EndSARS protest. Specific mention must be made of the Police. I must mention here that like every organistion, there are few bad eggs. The police is not an exception. However, we must not allow the few bad eggs to tar the entire police force with one brush. They need to be encouraged, motivated and supported to have the police that we will all be proud of.
9. At this point, I once again commiserate with the families of civilians and security officers who have lost their lives and those who have lost their properties in the #EndSARS violence in different parts of the country. These deaths and arson are unfortunate and unwarranted. I reassure all the people of Ogun State that we will continue to ensure the safety of lives and properties. We plead with our citizens to go about their businesses peacefully.
10. Once again, just as I commend the organizers of the #EndSARS for suspending the protest and call on them to allow for the full implementation of their demands by Government. I urge the people to take full advantage of the windows available including the State Human Rights Complaints’ Report portal to express their grievances in peaceful manners.
Our combined teams of law enforcement agents have been put on the alert to protect public buildings and similar properties belonging to the government and other prominent facilities in all locations around Ogun State. Please call 112 to report any suspicious activities, molestation or harassment.
11. We understand that many of our people are just coming out of the economic hardship as imposed by COVID-19. These are people whose economic activities have been affected by the lockdown and other difficult but necessary measures to combat and bring down the curve of COVID-19. We are irrevocably committed to the successful implementation of the “Building our Future Together” Agenda. As a responsible Government, we will do everything possible to ensure that all the people of Ogun State have increased prosperity and place our dear State on a sure footing towards continued development. Therefore, we will not allow anyone or group to truncate the re-emerging peaceful atmosphere in our dear State.
12. We seek the continued support, cooperation, collaboration and prayers of all our people. Towards this, we will intensify and continue to engage all the various segments of our population. This is a practical demonstration of our Administration’s appreciation of the right of the people to participate and express themselves in matters that affect them. In fact it is an integral part of our policy of inclusiveness, fairness, justice, equity and respect for the rule of law in governance since we assumed office on 29th May, 2019.
13. In the area of youth development especially, we are determined to unleash the creative energies of our vibrant, tireless and motivated youths, towards building a more vibrant economy. This is why we have come up with various economic programmes that they can tap into.
In this regard, we will be launching this week, another youth empowerment program targeting 5,000 youth with 250 in each of our 20 local Governments Areas. The programme will provide skills and capacity building as well as stipends whilst the participants are attached to small and medium scale enterprises and government agencies.
14. My fellow people of Ogun State, we must come together to ensure a peaceful environment for our wellbeing, wellness and welfare. I enjoin all of us to go about our legitimate businesses. The Government will continue to monitor the situation. But in the meantime, as our security agencies on joint patrol have been able to largely bring the situation under control, they will continue to patrol the major streets to ensure peace and tranquility in the day-to-day activities of citizens.
15. Once again, on behalf of the Government and entire people of Ogun State, I appreciate all those who have contributed to restoring peace to our dear State. I must also say that we are particularly elated by the prompt actions of all. We continue to crave for this support, collaboration and cooperation at all times. Together we will build the Ogun State of our collective dream.
16. I thank you all for listening and God bless you.
“Igbega Ipinle Ogun, Ajose Gbogbo Wa ni o!”
Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR
Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria Monday, 26th October, 2020.