The Action Congress of Nigeria, Lagos State, hereby expresses its appreciation to all Nigerians for the maturity displayed by all those who created time to attend any of the protest centres in all the States, where citizens in unprecedented demonstration of maturity, expressed their opposition to the withdrawal of petrol subsidy from Monday 9th to Monday 16th January 2012.
In particular, we salute the citizens of Lagos State for their steadfastness and attendance at each centre where Nigerians from all walks of life, from all the States of the country, all the religions, all the professions, and all the vocations, including those who are physically challenged, converged daily as brothers and sisters of one united family. We commend them for their great restraint despite isolated provocation.
We sympathise with the family of innocent, unarmed and harmless Demola Abiodun of Ogba-Agege, Lagos State who lost his life on Monday, 9th January 2012, to a bullet allegedly aimed at him without provocation by a Senior Police Officer. We pray that God forgives Demola’s sins, grant eternal repose to his soul, and console his family. Amen.
Also, we sympathise with his friends who were playing football with him, and were seriously injured by the same Senior Police Officer. May God grant you all speedy recovery. Amen.
Inspite of these, we appreciate the Lagos State Police Command for being able to overcome this isolated overzealousness by a Superior Officer. We are encouraged that the State Commissioner of Police rose promptly to the occasion when he ordered the arrest of the culprit. The Lagos State Police then after discharged their official duties of providing security at all the protest centres, and all over Lagos State in accordance with the law.
Albeit, we are appalled that, after the bi-partite negotiation between the Government and labour had ended the protests, the President ordered soldiers to invade Lagos State early morning Monday 16th January 2012, to bully, harass and intimidate the law abiding citizens of Lagos.
Lagos State has a duly elected Governor who came into office by popular votes, and who is the Chief Security Officer of the State. He had unshaken confidence in the Police formation on the ground in Lagos, and was not consulted as required by diplomatic decency and official decorum.
What could be responsible for this provocation and naked abuse of authority by a democratically elected Government whose party, only some months ago, came to Lagos State to solicit for votes? Is this the type of payback that Lagos State deserves for her hospitality?
As far as we know, the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and action, as long as the peace of the society is not threatened. If citizens were important when their votes were needed just a few months ago, their views, apprehensions, desires and aspirations should also matter to those elected into office by them.
What is the Federal Government’s reaction to the reported unauthorised invasion of an oil platform by former militants over the weekend? “To provide security” against possible shutdown of the platform by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN)? Was the reported invasion the bounden duty of ex-militants when the country has properly trained security agencies in place? Can any other Nigerian do this and get away with it in a civilised society where there is a government?
What is the Federal Government’s answer to the numerous print adverts by the President’s kinsmen, where they beat war drums and threaten other Nigerians without being provoked?
The ACN had thought that the Boko Haram issue was engaging enough for the Federal Government, particularly concerning how it would speedily and successfully tackle the sect, in view of admission by the Federal Government in public that the sect had infiltrated its cabinet and even the federal security apparatus!
We are aware of hidden agenda by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to “take over Lagos” by hook or crook. If this unwarranted military invasion is the sign- post of that evil scheme, we advise that this be discontinued forthwith. The peace and harmony that exist in Lagos State should not be disturbed for clandestine objectives.
We make bold to remind the Federal Government that a match stick that is mischievously ignited could become a rage that is impossible to contain.
Lagos State is not available for occupation! Let the peace of Lagos be sustained. We consequently demand the immediate withdrawal of the soldiers from our streets.
God bless Nigeria.
Otunba Henry Oladele Ajomale,