SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, (THEWILL) – In a season when sections of the Country are issuing ultimatum for persons from other ethnic groups to quit their region, the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Friday declared that the state remains home to all tribes and nationalities, stressing that the unity of the country should be of paramount importance to all.
Speaking at Lagos House in Ikeja when he received on courtesy visit members of the Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs led by the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, he assured that Lagos state would continue to support every effort made to preserve the unity of the country particularly by sustaining peaceful coexistence and accommodating all.
Ambode commended measures so far taken by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the Federal Government to quell tensions generated by agitation from some ethnic nationalities seeking to secede from Nigeria.
Speaking against the backdrop of earlier comments by Akiolu that the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State were solidly in support of the peaceful co-existence of the people in the country, he averred that the oneness of the country was of the essence, and that it was important for every segment of the country to promote the unity of the country.
The governor said: “I also want to join the Chairman of 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 Constitution. We are very happy that all our traditional rulers in Lagos believe in oneness of Nigeria.
“We are happy also that we are very accommodating. We are also happy that we allow people from other tribes to live with us and we are ready to do everything to support the Acting President and the Federal Government in general that every effort they make, we will ensure that Lagos remains peaceful and then Nigeria remains peaceful.”
While reiterating the commitment of his administration to frontally address security issues in Lagos state, he disclosed that enemies within the state “are behind some cases of kidnapping that occurred in the recent time,” apparently to undermine his administration.
The governor commended the traditional rulers for supporting his administration’s efforts in ensuring the safety of lives and property in the state.
His words, “I want to thank you for your support in terms of security. You are part of the security architecture of Lagos State because without you, we will not get the information we are using to reach out to the police and 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.”
Although he was enraged by what he described as the activities of the saboteurs and enemies within, he 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.
Ambode said at the moment, he would not want to divulge details of efforts being made by government to end kidnapping and other crimes in the State, but expressed optimism that the efforts would yield positive results.
According to him, “Like I said somewhere yesterday, I don’t like running government on the pages of newspapers because sometimes when we do it, it will jeopardize what we are doing on security which is why we have been very tactical about doing media trial in things like this.
“But just to let our monarchs know what we are doing, I feel very bad each time I hear about this but again life and safety first thereafter we will deal with other things. But to let you know truly that sometimes, some of these kidnapping issues are actually from enemies within but I just pray that when the children comes back, we will be able to talk about those things and so I just ask people to give us some time as we gather intelligence.”
Speaking earlier on behalf of the Council of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos State, Akiolu said, “the peaceful co-existence of everybody is what we are after in Lagos and I have to say that Lagos is home to all”.