Stakeholders Urge FG to Grant Lagos Special Status

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By Segun James

Various stakeholders in Lagos State, cutting across traditional rulers, politicians and professionals yesterday reiterated their demand for a special status for Lagos from the federal government.

Speaking when representatives of the federal government, including the Interior Minister, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, and his Police Affairs counterpart, Mr Muhammad Dingyadi, visited Lagos, the leaders urged both ministers to facilitate the process of according the state a special place among the states in the country.

A communique at the end of the meeting hosted by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which was held as part of the engagements on conflict resolution also recommended the creation of jobs opportunities for the youths of the state.

The event held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium at the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja and attracted top government functionaries including the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.

Also prominent among those present during the event were the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN); Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Mr Lekan Oba; and leading Lagos politicians, including Dr. Yomi Finnih.

The communiqué noted that the stakeholders further urged the government to improve the working conditions of the police by increasing their salaries and focusing on their welfare to boost their commitment.

They also urged the government to step up its intelligence effort to pre-empt crises and restructure police operations to conform to the country’s federal system.

“The stakeholders urged the federal government to provide crowd control equipment and set aside protest arena for citizens to express dissent.

“They also agreed on the need to expose youths to counselling and the knowledge of God, for proper guidance and more engagement of the youths as they also have ideas that could assist in formulating policies for government.

“The government should also look at the reintroduction of value-driven programmes like boys scout, girls guild etc in our schools to meaningfully engage our youths and provide adequate training and grooming of the wards by their parents,” the leaders noted.

Addressing the attendees earlier, Aregbesola eulogised the city of Lagos, describing it as the destiny of the African race where he cut his teeth as a politician.

He said that although the country is facing security challenges, things had not degenerated to the “Hobbesian state of nature where life was brutish, poor and nasty.”

He expressed shock over the attack on the palace of the Oba of Lagos and appealed for the preservation of the heritage of the Nigerian people.

In his remarks, Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Muhammad Dingyadi, commiserated with the Lagos State governor over the loss of lives and property due to the violence which trailed the #EndSARS protests.

He added that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently addressed some of the demands of the protesters by approving a salary increase for police officers.