In view of the prolonged EndSARS protests rocking Oyo State, the State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has directed the immediate closure of all Schools in Ibadan from Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
The Governor, in a State broadcast aired on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, stated that the closure of the Schools will be reviewed on Friday, October 23, 2020.
The Governor equally announced the deployment of operatives of the ‘Operation Burst,’ a state-backed security outfit comprising Soldiers, men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Police, to all flash points of violence in Ibadan, the State capital, to restore normalcy and maintain peace.
He further explained that the decision to close Schools and deploy men of the ‘Operation Burst’ was as a result of the new dimension the ongoing #EndSARS protest was taking, adding that hoodlums have started taking advantage of the protests to harass citizens, perpetrate uncivil acts and disturb residents from carrying out their legitimate businesses.
Governor Makinde, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, further noted that operatives of the ‘Operation Burst’ would continue to be on ground to protect legitimate and peaceful protesters, warning, however, that the State would not allow unscrupulous elements to hijack the protests and terrorise residents of the State.
He maintained that as part of the State Government’s determination to protect peaceful protesters, it had earlier deployed operatives of the ‘Operation Burst’ to certain parts of the State to protect protesters, saying that the development enabled the protesters to express their legitimate grievances unhindered.
Governor Makinde had, in the wake of the protests, deployed operatives of ‘Operation Burst’ to Ogbomoso town to maintain peace following an outbreak of violence.
The outfit was also charged to take the responsibility of protecting protesters, while the Police were told to step back from protest venues. But in his broadcast on Tuesday, Governor Makinde expressed worry that some hoodlums had been preventing residents of the State from going about their lawful businesses in the name of the protests.
He asked residents of the State to dial the State’s emergency code, 615, in the case of anyone trying to foment trouble or bar them from carrying out their legitimate businesses.
According to the Governor, his Government has shown that it is committed to redeeming the pledges he made while addressing the protesters last week; adding that as he promised, the State Ministry of Justice has withdrawn cases against arrested #EndSARS protesters, while those in custody have been released.
He added that the Government has also set up platforms for reporting past and present incidents of police brutality and injustice, urging residents of the state to trust the process and rest, assured that justice would be done, rather than resorting to violence, which, he said, could be counter-productive to the cause of the protests against police brutality.
Governor Makinde added that his Government would continue to seek ways to engage with peaceful protesters, saying: “We will continue to seek ways to engage with peaceful protesters. Our plan is that in the shortest possible time, we can finally say the days of large-scale and wanton police brutality and injustice is a thing of the past.