By Benjamin Omoike
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has debunked news making the rounds that he fled the country to France for safety immediately after the alleged shooting of unarmed protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll plaza last Tuesday.
The former governor of Lagos also refuted claims, that one of his sons (Seyi) was kidnapped during the period of the protests.
He made the clarifications on Saturday, shortly after paying a visit to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the State House in Marina, to commiserate with him on the recent disturbances which engulfed the state, leaving in its wake, loss of lives and mass destruction of public and private property.
Responding to the allegations that he flew out of the country immediately after the Lekki crisis, he said: “I didn’t go nowhere; I am a Lagosian. And I still hold the title of Asiwaju of Lagos State and I am still a Jagab. Whatever they think; fake news is all over the place. They said my son, Seyi was kidnapped. He is here (Tinubu pointed at his son). It is all a joke.”
He said he came to commiserate with the people of Lagos and the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over the recent incident at Lekki toll plaza and destruction of private and government property in different parts of the state.
Tinubu, who was accompanied by his son, Seyi, said the “lootings, carnage, burning and invasion of our police stations and stealing of arms and maiming the innocents” in Lagos during the week “is handshake beyond the elbow.”
The first governor of Lagos State in the Fourth Republic, further debunked the report in some media, especially the social media, that he fled Nigeria for safety after the Tuesday’s shootings at Lekki Toll Gate.
He said; “We have to separate those who suffered brutality in the hands of some SARS officers before the protests from those who suffered casualties due to shootings at the Toll Gate. For those who suffered from SARS, they should approach the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and present their case to the panel.”
“The panel is independent and I trust the caliber and character of the people there.”
Making reference to Governor Sanwo-Olu’s handling of the protest before curfew was imposed, Tinubu said the Governor did what he should have done, under the circumstance. He added that Sanwo-Olu, who is youth-friendly, listened to the protesters, and took their demands to the president in Abuja.
“He (Sanwo-Olu) quickly went to Abuja with the five for five and the government immediately went into action.”
“We saw on television that he delivered the message to Mr. President. The President didn’t say no. The President gave him an appointment within a few hours. That is responsive enough for people to go to town but where are we getting the lootings, the carnage, the burning and invasion of our police stations and stealing of arms and maiming the innocents. It is handshake beyond the elbow,” he said.