The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described the event of the past one week as “deeply troubling and of great concern to him and many patriotic citizens of the state”.
He appealed to the people of the State and the Southwest to allow peace to reign and refrain from wanton destruction of lives and property, saying the issues that triggered the EndSARS protests are being addressed.
Speaking in a statewide broadcast on Friday, Governor Fayemi disclosed that the 24-hour daily curfew imposed on the State on Tuesday, October 20 was extended till 6.00 am on Monday, October 26 to prevent Ekiti from sliding into the total breakdown of law and order.
Despite the extension of the curfew, the Governor clarified that Muslims are permitted to observe their Jumat services on Friday, October 23, while Christians also are free to go to their places of worship on Saturday, October 24, and Sunday, October 25 for their services.
Fayemi disclosed that he met with President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on behalf of his brother governors on Monday on the need for the nation’s leader to make a broadcast and careful handling of the protests which degenerated into violence nationwide.
He thanked the leadership of the protest movement for calling off the protest saying “the import of the protest has been largely achieved. The Federal Government has banned the SARS department in response to the five demands made by the EndSARS movement and those held in SARS detention centres have been released.”
The Governor appealed to the people of the state to be peaceful and law-abiding and not engage in acts that will compel the government to extend the curfew beyond Monday. He noted that the weekend will be used to observe the situation before any further action is taken.
He urged traditional rulers, religious leaders, politicians, and community leaders to use the weekend to further engage youths in their localities on the need to embrace peace while the mandate of the Youth Development Council in the state has been widened for better engagement of the youths in development efforts.
Fayemi also used the opportunity of the broadcast to commiserate with those who suffered losses during the orgy of violence visited on the state by miscreants who hijacked the peaceful EndSARS protests praying God “to give his administration the strength to bring joy and succour where there is sadness, despair, and despondency.”
He said: “While calm has been restored in most parts of the State, we have decided to watch development over the weekend before deciding on next steps. It is for this reason that I have extended the 24-hour curfew on the State until 0600hrs on Monday, 26th October 2020.
“This painful action was taken in the best interest of ourselves to ensure that the crisis does not escalate since criminals enjoy mimicking violent occurrences in other places. It is my hope that we will not have cause to extend the curfew any further.
“I want to urge all our traditional institutions, religious bodies, politicians, and community leaders to use this weekend to engage the youth in their respective communities to give peace a chance. To this end, the curfew will allow an exception for Friday Jumat and Saturday and Sunday worship in churches.
“In the meantime, security agencies have been instructed to exercise judicious restraint in response to the tense situation. The intention of the Government is to ensure peace, under no condition should indiscretion responses be allowed to escalate the situation.
“I, therefore, appeal for the cooperation of our people and the security personnel who are doing a tremendous job to ensure that we live in peace.
“As for those who may still want to test the resolve of government by engaging in violent action leading to a breakdown of law and order, I urge you to think twice because I will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law against such errant conduct.”
On the gains achieved by non-violent EndSARS protest, the Governor said: “Now that the President has spoken acknowledging the demands and explaining what government is doing about them. I want to thank the leadership of the protest movement in Ekiti for calling off the protest. The import of the protest has been largely achieved.
“The Federal Government has banned the SARS department in response to the five demands made by the EndSARS movement and those held in SARS detention centers have been released. In Ekiti, as in many states of the Federation, a Judicial Panel of Enquiry to look into the cases of abuses, extra-judicial acts, and general misconduct which led to the protest, has been set up.
“A restitution fund to compensate for the losses of the victims of such abuses is also established while other demands like increase in salaries of police officers are being attended to.
“I urge our youths who want nothing but a nation that serves and benefit all to show restraint in the way they pursue their demands. I fully understand and endorse the far-reaching message that the EndSARS protest articulated. It is generally a protest not just against brutality by police officers, but a wakeup call to all of us in positions of responsibility and the entire citizenry to have a new direction in the manner we handle the governance of the nation. It is a collective reminder to us that the urgency to act more decisively on how to improve a lot of our people is now.
“We must not let this seed to be emasculated in the crevice of violence that has attended the protest. This message has been well made. It is time for meaningful engagement. To this end, I am announcing the expansion of the mandate of our Youth Development Council with a view to deepening the State’s engagement with our youths and ensuring speedier implementation of the Ekiti Youth Agenda in partnership with all critical stakeholders in the youth constituency.”