Unlike most parts of Nigeria, cosmopolitan Lagos has enjoyed relative peace and calm these past few years. We recognize that this feat has only been made possible because of the ingenuity of the Lagos State Government and the efficiency of the Security Trust Fund. From the era of an inattentive Federal Government providing only 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier and 21 patrol vehicles to the Lagos State Police Command in the past 7 years, the Lagos State Government has overseen the provision of more than 30 Armoured Personnel Carriers and 860 patrol vehicles through the Security Trust Fund. In addition, 30 Patrol Boats have been donated to the Navy and the Marine Police, among other communication and IT equipment.
The peace and calm of Lagos is now being threatened by the recent actions of Mr. Jimi Agbaje’s PDP and his unbridled ambition. Disturbingly, on March 16th 2015, Lagosians woke up to the very terrifying sight of political miscreants led by the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wreaking havoc, terror and mayhem on our major roads. Wielding automatic guns, machetes and axes, Lagosians were given a taste of the senseless, pointless and bloodthirsty violence perpetrated by a thoughtless militia. Under the guise of undertaking protests against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), citizens and residents were harassed, robbed and beaten up. While on rampage, these marauding young men stripped and demolished banners and other campaign material belonging to the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). To cap it all, these illegal actions and acts of vandalism were undertaken under protection from security agencies.
These events have taken on a rather sinister pattern where citizens who associate with the All Progressives Congress have been openly harried, harassed, stoned and beaten up by PDP-sponsored miscreants. It appears the intention is not only to intimidate the residents of Lagos; it is also designed to instill fear among the supporters of the opposition. A city-wide deployment of touts and miscreants in strategic bus stations and other public locations has seen residents wearing opposition T-shirts or other insignia beaten up.
Mr. Jimi Agbaje, the PDP gubernatorial candidate has been the biggest beneficiary of this show of force and shame in Lagos. He cannot by his silence or reticence separate himself from what has become his party’s predominant campaign strategy. With the help of the Federal Government, rather than equip our floundering security forces, they have contracted these known criminal elements, to the tune of billions of Naira, to apply their ignominious enterprise in Lagos. Our hitherto peaceful Lagos, it appears, is being prepared as the centre stage for electoral violence and aggression. The objective may be to scare away voters from the polls. This may also not be unrelated to the incidence of purchase of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). For whatever it is worth, they appear determined to keep citizens away from the polling booths.
We reject in totality this bleak future that Mr. Agbaje and his PDP cohorts seek to unleash upon Lagos. With all sense of responsibility, we who have a stake in the peace, security and prosperity of Lagos, demand that the resort to violence as perpetuated by the PDP elsewhere, be left out of Lagos. All well-meaning Lagosians should disparage Mr. Agbaje’s desperation for power and his open invitation to the violent ilk.
We hereby call on Mr. Jimi Agbaje, the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP for Lagos State, to call on his supporters and associates in the PDP and the OPC to, henceforth, desist from all acts of violence and terror against the people of Lagos. The might of the people is always greater than the might of a violent and desperate few. The well-being of Lagosians is far greater than the ambitions of one man. May wise counsel prevail!
Lagos Residents for Peace and Justice (LRPJ)