By Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
Oyo Governor Seyi Makinde has assured #ENDSARS protesters he is fully in support of their agitations.
He spoke while addressing thousands of protesters who waited for him for hours to address them.
The protesters had refused to disperse from the Oyo State Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan where they converge until the Governor showed up hours later.
They rebuffed attempts by Deputy Governor Rauf Olaniyan to address them on behalf of Makinde.
The Governor, who went on a condolence visit to Ogbomoso over the killing of #ENDSARS protesters, arrived around 5 pm.
He commended the youths for staging the protest, saying it was an attestation to the fact that they were not lazy.
According to him: “First, I would have been with you earlier, I had to go to Ogbomosho, I went out there to see things for myself and also to visit the Kabiyesi, the Soun of Ogbomosho and to also meet the families of those who lost their loved ones.
“So, what I am saying is that I am with you 101 percent. I want to thank you because you are Nigerian youths. You are not lazy, you are not hoodlums, you did not vandalise anything.
“What you have done is to show peacefully that certain policies of the government and the brutalization coming from the Nigerian Police Force must stop.
“I can tell you that we as leaders, we have to do more. We have to provide more. All of these protests are not just about SARS. There is a need for employment for the youths.
“There is anger in the land because opportunities are few and far in-between. So, as leaders, we have to do more, our youths have to be productive. We have to create opportunities for you.
“Peaceful protest is guaranteed under our Constitution. But I want to beg you, all the things been requested in here, all of the protesters that are being detained will be released.
“I have spoken to the Attorney General of the State and Commissioner of police and I agree that they need to be compensated.
“But, we cannot do some of the good things we have in an atmosphere of chaos. I have listened to you, I have the Commissioner for youths here. He will seat and engage with your leaders.
“As a government in Oyo state, we have to find a means to diffuse the tension and one of the things that we have to do will be constructive engagement.
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“There has to be engagement and there has to be a way for us to get that engagement going.
“The President and the Inspector General of Police have said that SARS has been disbanded.
“I said in Oyo state, hold me responsible and accountable. I don’t want any further loss of lives. We have asked that the Police should take the back seat. All of us must take into our hands the responsibility to behave responsibly.
“We will have to find a way to engage ourselves. There will be palliative that the Oyo state government will roll out in the next week.
“So, what I will ask is that all the stakeholders must find a means to get people who will represent them. You must have people who will represent you.
“If we have all of us here, there is no way we will have any meaningful discussion and there is no way you can hold us accountable with whatever we say we are going to do unless we have that means of engagement.”
He went: “So, please, I have had an argument today where somebody said we have to use force and I said no we can’t use force because when I was looking for votes, I came to you and you organsied yourselves and you voted for me, so it is now time for me to listen to you and ensure that whatever it is that you want to be done by your government, we will find a means to do it.
“But, the major issue is that, an idle hand is the devil’s tool and so we need to provide employment, we need to provide means of livelihood for our youths and that we will do.
“I am with you, I identify with you and collectively we will make our state and our country better.”