The government of Oyo State declared on Monday that it will bring the full weight of the law to bear on the criminal and violent takeover of some Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas’ secretariats by the dissolved illegal chairmen loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reports from different parts of Oyo State confirmed on Monday that the sacked chairmen resorted to break-ins and vandalisation of government properties, leading some imposters to seize offices of council Chairmen.
The State Government, in a statement by Honourable Babatunde Oduyoye, the Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters to Governor Seyi Makinde, maintained that the action of the sacked chairmen amounted to criminality and unwarranted provocation.
It condemned what it called unwarranted lawlessness and motor-park-like brigandage perpetrated by the sacked chairmen on Monday.
According to the State Government, the imposters broke into council offices, vandalising gates, doors, windows and other properties at the respective local council secretariats.
The government, however, appealed to the teeming people of the State to remain calm, law-abiding and patient, pending the decision of the Court of Appeal on the matter slated for 19 February 2020.
It promised that “a drastic measure “will be taken on the reports of destruction and violence which characterised the actions of the sacked chairmen on Monday.
Hon Oduyoye said: “We have received reports of vandalisation of government property. We have received reports of wanton destruction of doors, windows, and others, and I can tell you that the governor will not sit down and watch while some people decide to be lawless. This is criminal and the government will pursue it to a logical conclusion.
“So, pending the determination of the cases at the Court of Appeal, I think it is only appropriate for these chairmen to be law-abiding because we had said earlier that it is sub judice and we cannot do anything until these cases are determined in the court.
“For the records, the state government, in a statement yesterday, did say that we are going to ensure we do not allow a breakdown of law and order. As we speak, there are two cases in the Court of Appeal and the cases are coming up on February 19th. I do not know why the Attorney-General of the Federation wrote such a letter that is now being used as excuse by some to act recklessly. We will recall that he did a similar thing on the issue of Amotekun.”
The Special Adviser added that as a law-abiding and peace-loving Government, the 68 caretaker chairmen appointed by Governor Makinde were directed to stay away from the secretariats in order to forestall an outbreak of violence, noting, however, that the chairmen have been charged with keeping peace and order in their respective local councils.
He added: “We in Oyo State are law-abiding citizens. The government directed the chairmen to maintain peace. We have just finished a meeting now and workers in the state under the umbrella of NULGE are on strike, and you now begin to ask why the sacked APC council chairmen went to the local government councils.
“The issue is, there is industrial action by NULGE. I think they are justified by the level of reports we have received of people macheting PDP members they found around the local government councils’ premises, destroying government properties, forcing doors open and all that. NULGE was right to have taken such a decision. We do not begrudge them for doing that but we have told our people to be law-abiding. We have told the chairmen too to ensure there is no breakdown of law and order within the local government areas.”
Speaking on the situation that led to the current imbroglio, Oduyoye maintained that the Court should be allowed to take its decision on who is right or wrong on the matter on ground, insisting, however, that the government, under the leadership of Governor Makinde, would not sit down and watch some desperate elements destroy the state and create fear in the minds of the people.
“Whether one is right or the other is wrong, it is not for me to decide. The court will decide. This is a very simple matter. An election was held when there was an injunction. Second, elections took place in LCDAs not recognised by the Constitution. These are matters before the court.
“As I said, the court will decide if you can conduct elections in areas not recognized by the constitution and, if you can go ahead to conduct an election when there was a pending injunction, these are matters for the Court of Appeal to decide upon.
“Pending that time, we have appealed to the good people of Oyo State to be calm, law-abiding and we will ensure we do something about the report sent to us on those who have destroyed government property,” Oduyoye said.