By DAPO FALADE
Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde has announced that criminal elements involved in wanton destruction of private and public properties in the violence that attended the #EndSARS protest in various parts of the state will be prosecuted.
This was as he announced the setting up of a judicial panel to investigate cases of justice and also an initial Five Hundred Million (N500, 000) Naira Compensation Fund for victims of injustice and creation of 5,000 jobs for youths.
The governor made the announcements while addressing traditional rulers and other stakeholders at a post-protest meeting held in Ibadan to chart a way forward after the violence.
“This is the first time we will be meeting like this after the events of the past two weeks. We are not here to apportion blame or do a post-protest analysis. We are here to chart a way forward by rubbing minds together.
‘Also, through this meeting, we will be able to present to you some of the decisions we have taken in favour of our young people here in Oyo State.
“Let me start by thanking everyone in our state for your cooperation. Even when thugs and hoodlums decided to cause mayhem in some parts of our dear state, some of you stood up and repelled them.
“We had so many people call the 615 Emergency contact number because they were not interested in the destruction of lives and properties. And because of your actions, our losses, both human and material, were minimal.
“I want to reassure the good people of Oyo State that all criminal elements that engaged in wanton destruction of lives and properties will be dealt with.
“I also want to urge members of the Nigeria Police Force working in Oyo State to step up to their responsibilities to protect lives and properties. We know that trust is low right now, but you can quickly regain public trust through your professional conduct.
“Let me also state that we have set up an initial #500,000 million Compensation Fund for victims of injustice. So, I encourage everyone who has suffered any form of injustice in the past or as a result of the #EndSARS protests to please take advantage of the platforms we have provided to log their cases.
“We have an email service and a direct reporting portal on the Oyo State government website. A judicial panel for Oyo State will be inaugurated in the next one week to look into cases of injustice.
“We know that the protests have been a result of simmering anger among the youths. We are aware of the economic situation, especially the reduced income of many due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also the general unemployment situation in the country.
“Let me reassure you that we will continue to prioritise actions that will positively impact the youths. For this reason, we have taken the following immediate actions to address some of the issues raised by the youths during the protest:
“I have directed that a #500,000 million MSME fund be set up. This fund will be disbursed to youths who have bright entrepreneurial ideas that will provide further employment and improve the economic landscape in Oyo State.
“I have directed the employment of 5,000 young persons across all government agency schemes over the next few months. The criteria for employment and the dates for assessment will be announced by the agency authorities.
“Going forward, starting from 2021, there will be provisions made for the Direct Labour Agency in the budget. This will ensure more employment opportunities for residents who have requisite skills when projects are awarded.
“We will be proceeding with the fifth phase distribution of palliatives by the end of this week, having completed the verification of the individuals who qualify for them,” he said.
The governor reassured that his administration will continue to live up to its mantra of putting the people first, adding that it will continue to protect the rights of every resident of the state, as contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
He also said that he has deviated from the open-door policy of administration, adding: “We are always happy to dialogue with everyone for the economic good and development of our beloved state.”