Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State Governor has urged citizens not to allow fifth columnists or external forces to threaten or undermine their wellbeing and security.
Sanwo-Olu gave the advice in Ikeja on Tuesday at a Stakeholders Engagement on Internal Security and Conflict Resolution.
He underscored the need to revive the communication link between government and the people, saying that the communication was important to prevent fifth columnists or conspiracy theorists to infiltrate the society and spread disinformation or misinformation.
According to him, disinformation or misinformation is capable of jeopardising the future of the country or the opportunities available for the youth to contribute to the greatness of the country.
He noted that the security challenges being experienced across the nation called for serious concerns.
Sanwo-Olu said that such concerns were understandable, considering the implications of the insecurity, not only on the socio-economic development and prosperity of the people but also the unity and territorial integrity of the nation.
The governor stressed that the importance of an effective strategy for peaceful resolution of conflict could not be over-emphasised.
According to him, nations have engaged in war and civil strife on the basis of issues that could have been ordinarily resolved peacefully without resorting to violence and its attendant loss of lives and destruction of property.
“The incidents leading up to the Oct. 20 protests nationwide and the aftermath have created a lot of tension in the land.
“We should not allow fifth columnists or conspiracy theorists to capitalise on the after-effect of the protests, with collateral damage of police stations that were burnt and vandalised, with arms and ammunition looted.
“That incident, through which extensive damage was wreaked on public infrastructure and private businesses, is a wakeup call to all well-meaning individuals and organisations that we cannot afford to allow external forces or factors to threaten or undermine our wellbeing and security as a people.
“We have the opportunity today to share knowledge and ideas that could pre-empt crisis situations through conflict resolution mechanisms.
“It is our duty and responsibility, as leaders, to rise above the present challenges and provide the needed leadership that will restore and ensure the continued confidence and trust in the governance system and the beneficial effect on the lives of all categories of citizens in Nigeria,” he said.
The governor said that Lagos State remained the strategic hub for socio-economic, political or entertainment activities in Nigeria and the entire ECOWAS sub-region as a whole.
Sanwo-Olu stressed that any negative development in Lagos State would have ripple effects across the South West geopolitical zone.
He called on all stakeholders to come together and re-strategize on security initiatives that would prevent a recurrence of the wanton damage and destruction of lives and property as well as public infrastructure.
He moaned that the replacement of such property and infrastructure would come at a prohibitive cost.
“I urge all stakeholders and participants present today to stand together as one and proffer proactive solutions that will ensure and enhance security and conflict resolution initiatives in the new knowledge era of technology and innovation.
“Let us take on the challenge and provide leadership that will galvanise the patriotic fire in the chest of our youths and give them the assurance that, indeed, the future is very bright for Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said.