By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has described as unfortunate, the breakdown of law and order between two communities in Lekki of the state, just as he enjoined the warring parties to sheathe their swords and give peace a chance.
Speaking at Oniyanrin, during an on-the-spot assessment of the two communities, Governor Ambode stated that it is rather unfortunate that at a time Lagosians and friends of Lagos are joining the state to celebrate the fifty years since the state was created, communities that had co-habitated peacfully decided to resolve little differences in a very violent way.
Represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Oluseye Oladejo, the Governor reminded the communities of Government’s huge investment within these communities, advising them that no meaningful development can take place in any area noted for violent breakdown of law and order at the slightest provocation.
The Governor frowned at the level of lawlessness exhibited by the people of the two communities said “I am not happy with what I have seen here in terms of destruction of properties and equally the loss of lives; we have invested a lot within this community and many local and international business are still coming but we will be scaring them away if we choose to resolve our differences through violent means, which is not what our dear state is known for”.
Continuing, Ambode said that “If you had lived together for many years, I was told you have even married from each other, then we should explore peaceful means to resolve our disputes and if tempers continue to rise, especially amongst our youths, the traditional and religious leaders should play the role expected of them in ensuring amicable resolution of disputes within communities.
He said the State Government has invested heavily to improve the capacity and capability of the Security Agencies to combat crime. ”Our Security Agencies can boast of Land, Sea and Air capabilities to tackle militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes. So this sort of communal clash is a needless distraction which will no longer be tolerated.”
Governor Ambode described the axis as the future of Lagos saying both Government and individual private investors have invested heavily in the area. He therefore warned that his Administration will not allow such communal clashes to threaten these investments. “Government shall not lack the will to bear the full weight of the law on whoever threatens the investments and the peaceful coexistence among people in this area”, he said
While he assured the people of the area that law enforcement agents have been directed to ensure that there is peace within the area, he reminded them that government will not fail to bring the full weight of the law on troublemakers or those that breach public peace. “Residents, who are ready to embrace peace can return to their houses, we have directed the Security Agencies to ensure that there is no further skirmishes in this area, everywhere is now calm; you can come back to your houses now”, he said.
He commiserated with the people that lost their loved ones as well as those whose properties were destroyed in the fracas, assuring that government will not condone anyone involved in the skirmish no matter how highly placed.
The Onirayin and Ilagbo communities in Ibeju-Lekki area of the state have been at loggerheads which snowballed into a major fracas resulting in the burning of properties which allegedly led to the death of two people.
Relative peace has however returned to the two communities following the intervention of government and law enforcement agencies.