By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday disclosed that enemies within the state “are behind some cases of kidnapping that occurred in the recent time,” apparently to undermine his administration.
Although he was enraged by what he described as the activities of the saboteurs and enemies within, Ambode assured that the state government would soon rescue five pupils and two staff members kidnapped at the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla-Epe late last month.
He disclosed this at a meeting with Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs at the State House, Alausa, though refused to provide details about what had been doing in the last one month to secure the release of the pupils and staff members kidnapped at the model college.
The monarchs, who were led by the Chairman of the Council and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, pledged Ambode sustained partnership and strategic support to realise his vision of Africa’s model smart city.
But at the meeting, yesterday, Ambode said he would not divulge details about the effort the state government had made so far “to end kidnapping and other crimes in the state. The efforts would yield positive results.
“Like I said somewhere, I do not like running government on the pages of newspapers. Sometimes when we do it, it will jeopardise what we are doing on security which is why we have been very tactical about going to the media.”
He, however, gave insight into what he had been doing to arrest the wave kidnapping in the state, saying he always “feels very bad each time I hear about this. But life and safety first, thereafter, we will deal with other things.”
Specifically, Ambode disclosed that some of the kidnapping issues “are actually from enemies within. But I just pray that when the children come back, we will be able to talk about those things. So, I just ask people to give us some time as we gather intelligence.”
He, thus, commended the monarchs for their support, noting that they “are part of the state’s security architecture. Because without you, we will not get the information we are using to reach out to the police. I also want to thank you for supporting our Neighborhood Safety Corps initiative.
“Like I said, it is about neighborhood safety and we have seen the hands of all our monarchs in the operation of the corps. We believe strongly that we need to put more efforts in the Neighborhood Safety Corps to make sure that this issue of kidnapping and other criminal activities become a thing of the past within the shortest possible time,” the governor said.
Ambode, equally, commended the measures taken so far by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and by extension the federal government to quell tensions generated by agitation from some ethnic nationalities seeking to break away from Nigeria.
As a state, he said Lagos “will continue to support every effort made to keep the unity of the country, especially by maintaining peace and accommodating residents irrespective of their religions and tribes.
“The oneness of the country is of the essence. It was important for every segment of the country to promote the unity of the nation. The unity of the country should be of paramount importance to all.
“I also join the Council of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos State to reiterate our support for the federal government to keep the unity of Nigeria and also uphold the tenets of the 1999 Constitution. We are very happy that all our traditional rulers in Lagos believe in oneness of Nigeria.
“We are happy we are very accommodating. We are also happy we allow people from other tribes to live with us. We are ready to support the acting president and the federal government in general. We will ensure that Lagos remains peaceful and then Nigeria remains peaceful.”
On behalf of the Council of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos State, Akiolu commended the governor for providing strategic leadership and prayed that God would grant him a successful tenure of office while appreciating the giant stride his administration had made in the last two years.
The monarch, equally, noted that all the traditional rulers in the state were very much in support of the peaceful co-existence of the country, adding that every tribe is welcome in Lagos.
“The peaceful co-existence of everybody is what we are after in Lagos. I have to say that Lagos is home to all.” He, thus, called special Status for the state, saying doing so would be to the overall benefit of Nigeria.