I am constrained to stand down all preparations for the Walk for Peace. I will not endanger the life of any Lagosian in my sincere search for peace
The governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has explained that he shelved the Lagos peace walk planned for this month to prevent the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant which has been recorded in Nigeria.
Mr Sanwo-Olu had in an address on November 30, 2021, invited some known faces of the EndSARS protest in the state in October 2020 to a peace walk for “the healing of Lagos” this December.
Folarin Falana (Falz), Debo Adebayo (Mr. Marcaroni), Dele Farotimi, Temitope Majekodunmi, Segun Awosanya (Segalink), Adedotun (Just Detoun), Seun Kuti, Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu; and Commander of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Yinka Egbeyemi, amongst others were invited to the much publicized ‘walk’.
But Falz, Mr Macaroni, the younger Kuti, amongst some arrowheads of the protest reportedly rejected the invitation, saying there must be justice for EndSARS victims before peace.
Some other youth groups, however, declared support for the governor, saying they would walk with him.
However, in a statement on Thursday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said he is “constrained to stand down all preparations for the Walk for Peace” so as not to “endanger the life of any Lagosian” amid the outbreak of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The Omicron variant first detected in South Africa has been confirmed in over 50 countries including Nigeria though no associated death has been recorded globally.
Many countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, and European nations have since slammed travel restrictions on African countries, a move that has been widely criticised as discriminatory.
Read Sanwo-Olu’s full speech Below
LET’S PIVOT TO WORK FOR PEACE
Since my last address to you, the good people of Lagos State on Tuesday 30, November 2021, during which I expressed a desire to lead a Walk for Peace, following the outcome of the work of the Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters, I have been inundated with deep expressions of solidarity from various groups and people declaring their readiness to join me on the symbolic walk.
Indeed, I owe a special debt of gratitude to our youths and students, who reached out to either members of my team or directly to me, expressing their readiness to join me on the planned Walk for Peace. They include many of our Civil Society Leaders, business leaders within and outside of Corporate Lagos, religious leaders, members of the Diplomatic Community, entertainers, Market Associations, Trade Associations and Women Groups who have committed time and resources to preparing for the Peace Walk. I thank you all.
When the unseen enemy called Covid-19 began to ravage the world and indeed our nation, I assumed the role of the Incident Commander in our quest to protect the lives of our people. We subjected ourselves to the dictates of science. We chose to be guided not by our emotions, but expert opinions rooted in science. Between Tuesday 30, November 2021 that I made my address and now, we have seen a significant rise in cases associated with the Omicron variant of this pandemic.
Given this development, I am constrained to stand down all preparations for the Walk for Peace. I will not endanger the life of any Lagosian in my sincere search for peace. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support the initiative received from far and near. The deluge of support is, however, indicative of one thing: our people know the strategic place of peace to our quest for development.
I look forward to engaging with you as WE TOGETHER WORK FOR PEACE!
God bless Lagos State.