Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has described the recent protest in the state as a wake-up call to all Nigerians and security organisations to be vigilant and collectively move against actions that can undermine the wellbeing and security of the nation.
He made the remark on Tuesday at a Stakeholders’ Engagement on Internal Security and Conflict Resolution in the state.
“We have to reignite the communication link between government and the people so that fifth columnists or conspiracy theorists will not be able to infiltrate and spread disinformation and misinformation that would jeopardise the future of our country or the opportunities available for our youths to contribute to the greatness of our country,” the governor told the audience at the event.
He added, “The level of insecurity being experienced across the nation calls for serious concern, considering its implication not only on the socio-economic development and prosperity of our people but also on the unity and territorial integrity of our nation.
“The importance of an effective strategy for peaceful resolution of conflict cannot be overemphasised.”
On his part, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, explained that the forum was the third stakeholders’ engagement which the Ministry of Interior initiated to strengthen peace across the country.
He noted that the Federal Government had a responsibility to deepen peace and reduce conflicts in Lagos, which he described as the cradle of the black race.
The minister stated that the government’s interest in security was selfish, saying no development can be achieved in a situation of insecurity.
“The main purpose of the ongoing drive is to create an atmosphere of peace for our development.
“We may not have attained the most secured state at the moment, we must not take what we have for granted,” he said.
Aregbesola added, “The nature of insecurity we are witnessing today is not peculiar to Nigeria. The world is increasingly facing insecurity whose main causes are armed conflicts, terrorism, banditry, organised crimes, food shortages, natural disasters, and epidemics among others.
“We have a responsibility to deepen peace and reduce conflicts that are peculiar to our nation. This will enable us to bring down the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) shelters dotting our land.”
The Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, on his part, said the destruction witnessed in Lagos was painful.
He believes the engagement could not have come at a better time than now, noting that Lagos was in dire need of reconciliation, reconstruction, and re-integration.
Dingyadi stated that Lagos must be supported to achieve lasting peace in order to continue playing its “magnificent role” as the nation’s industrial centre.
“This dialogue will offer every community an opportunity to constructively add their input to the effort of sustaining peace and securing the country,” Dingyadi said.
The wanton destruction of public assets in the violence that trailed the protests has bolstered the Federal Government-led initiatives geared towards engendering peace and security in the country.
Tuesday’s event was organised by the Federal Ministry of Interior with the purpose of strengthening peace and security in the aftermath of the recent nationwide protest.
The ministry engaged in consultations with the state government, traditional rulers, civil society groups, religious institutions, and youth groups on the need to adopt dialogue as a key approach in channelling grievances and resolving conflicts.
In attendance at the event were the service chiefs in Lagos and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, among others.