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General News of Saturday, 4 February 2023


Makinde, Adelabu suspend rallies as protesters attack Oyo governor's office

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Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and one of his challengers, Adebayo Adelabu of Accord Party, on Friday, suspended their campaign activities due to protests in Ibadan, the state capital.

The protest over the scarcity of fuel and new naira notes has been going on for a few days but intensified in many parts of the city on Friday with some protesters getting violent at the state secretariat where the office of the governor is located.

Mr Makinde is seeking a second term as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Following the spread of the protest, the governor and Mr Adelabu said they were suspending political activities to sympathise with people in the state over the hardship caused by the scarcity.

While Mr Makinde said the suspension is until further notice, Mr Adelabu said his own will be for three days.

The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Wasiu Olatubosun, who announced the suspension in a statement, said the governor had directed all campaign activities of the PDP to be put on hold.

“As a mark of honor to citizens and residents of Oyo State, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde has directed that all campaign activities of the party at all levels be suspended until further notice,” he said.

“Governor Seyi Makinde’s love for his people necessitated this unprecedented move, at this time. We urge all residents and citizens of the State to remain calm as we navigate through this difficult period together.”

Mr Adelabu, a former deputy governor, operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, called on the federal government to resolve the crisis.

“I sympathise with Nigerians in their present predicament. To say times are hard is an understatement. No one is left out in this situation. People have money in the bank and they cannot access cash,” he said.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on the government to as a matter of urgency address the problem. Our people cannot continue to suffer while politicians are dancing around at rallies. These are the people we want to govern.”

Protesters on Friday injured a police officer when they stormed the state secretariat in the Agodi area of Ibadan.

The protesters had arrived at the facility with stones, broken bottles, cutlasses, sticks and other weapons.

They demanded to be addressed by Governor Makinde over the fuel scarcity and unavailability of cash at ATMs and point of sales terminals.

But after security officers denied them access to the governor, the protesters hauled stones and other objects into the governor’s office, destroying public properties.

A source at the secretariat who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimisation said a police Inspector, Dynasty Layemo, was injured in the melee.

The source said the injured officer was evacuated to a hospital where he was receiving treatment as of the time of this report.

The incident drove workers at the government secretariat into apanic.

The police spokesperson in the state, Adewale Osifeso, confirmed the incident.

However, Mr Osifeso said normalcy has been restored in the secretariat and its environs.

He said the police had information that some group of people were planning to exploit the anger over the scarcity of fuel and new naira notes to unleash violence.

“Worthy of note is that, available intelligence reveals that certain unscrupulous elements have perfected plans to hijack the process, escalating the situation into full scale chaos by shutting down and attacking places of interest which includes but not limited to INEC facilities, Banks, Media houses, Schools, Correctional Centers and other critical infrastructures inclusive of looting major malls and business centers within the State,” Mr Osifeso said.

“Members of the public are hereby advised, especially with reference to the youth segment, to avoid being used by agents of violence who want to capitalise on the situation to criminally enrich themselves, especially as we navigate towards the 2023 General Elections as the Command is fully prepared to mobilise fully to prevent these criminal elements from turning Oyo State into their playground,” he added.

“Lastly, the good people of Oyo State are advised to go about their businesses without any fear of harassment or molestation as the relative tranquillity within cannot be negotiated with unscrupulous and criminal elements.”