Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday that the #EndSARS protest as well as the looting of warehouses storing COVID-19 palliatives are about the 2023 general elections.
“I did say when COVID-19 came into this country that a few people are going to profiteer and that is what has happened. And I am saying it again that a few individuals are setting certain agenda for 2023. Now, from #EndSARS to hoodlums stealing CACOVID to various youths or people saying IPOB and statements. Various groups are making statements,” he said.
He, therefore, called on youths to leave the streets and return home and not allow themselves to be used by politicians.
“Whether we like it or not, this is 2023 playing out by a few individuals who feel they can continue to use us in this country and I am urging all youths across the country to return home,” the governor said.
He said the #EndSARS protesters were insincere as they refused to leave the streets even after the government had met its demands and disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police.
“Which struggle, which agitation, which uprising across the world has ever succeeded without leadership? I agree 100 per cent (with the agitation) but if you look at what is happening, then you will have no option but to qualify it as politically motivated,” Bello said.
When asked to reveal the sponsors of the protest, the governor failed to do so.
Bello said not everyone believes in the #EndSARS protest, adding that the scrapping of SARS had dampened police morale and caused them to leave the streets which had in turn given hoodlums the opportunity to have a field day.
“Now SARS has ended, police morale has been dampened, they have gone off the streets, and the hoodlums have taken to the streets. Who do we report to?” he asked.
The governor maintained that COVID-19 was nothing but a “glorified” malaria disease which had been used to siphon billions of naira.
He said, “I did say that COVID-19 is political; I did say that COVID-19 has an economic undertone.”
Bello stated that he didn’t know of the existence of a COVID-19 warehouse in Lokoja, which had been looted by thugs.
The governor said his government had been handing out palliatives to residents of Kogi State long before COVID-19.
Bello, who claimed to be the number one youth in Nigeria, refused to answer a question on whether the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll plaza compounded the crisis.