Over the past three weeks, youths from every nook and cranny of the country had formed a formidable force like never before to demand the scrapping of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police Force. They also want an end to police brutality
The fight by the Nigerian youths has been lauded and largely successful for various reasons prominent among which is unity.
However, in Oyo State, the unity among the youths fronting the protest has been broken by a million Naira given them for refreshment by Governor Seyi Makinde
Yesterday, some representatives of youths in the state attended a meeting with Makinde where they deliberated on issues. There were 15 groups at the meeting, with each going with N1 million each. Only last week, the opposition had accused Makinde of sending money to thugs in a bid to rein them in.
After the meeting, sources gathered that the governor, through one of his aides, reportedly gave the money to the Students’ Union president of the University of Ibadan, Mr. Daniel Akeju to serve as ‘transport and logistics’ for the #EndSARS protesters present. The youths decided to share the money, with each individual pocketing a minimum of N40,000.
This, however, has resulted into a controversy as some of those present insisted that the money should be returned, noting that the #EndSARS movement is not a money making avenue.
Sources later sighted a list that indicated that 19 of those present collected the money while a few others rejected it.
According to the list, those who collected the money are: Ayodele Rereoluwa, Ajiboye Victoria, Friday Adesegun, Joe Adibo and Benefict Adetunji, Rasheed Ibrahim, Ilesanmi Oluwatosin, Alasiri Paul, Mr. Ojo, Akorede Ibrahim.
Others are: Opakunle Kayode, Temitope Ishola, Oyejide Adeniyi, Martin (Oba Royale), Fadare, and Super Carrot.
However, the few who rejected it include: Akeju Olusegun, Asiwaju Lerry, Adekunle Ibunkunoluwa, Oyekangun Damilare, Adeoye Oluwagbemiga, Ayoade Olusegun, Moses Eyem and Babayemi Kayode David.
This disagreement continued to degenerate on social media as those who collected the money are facing backlash for “monetizing #EndSARS” while some insist that the money was not a big deal.
While defending himself, Popular Ibadan-based media personality, Paul Alasiri, who was one of those who collected the money wrote: “I will personally give an account of what happened today.
“I was called on Friday about a meeting with Hon. Seun Fakorede and I called a few guys to tell them about as I cannot call everyone here, a member of this group represented us and gave minutes.
“As a follow up to the meeting I was called this Morning that there would a Town Hall Meeting with the Governor of Oyo State today and when I immediately a stakeholder here and told him about it, I also passed the message across to a few members of the group.
“The Town Hall Meeting was attended by not just #EndSARS Protesters but also other artisans, Okada Riders, Keke/Micra Riders, Members of OYHA, National Youth Council and other bodies.
“At the end of the meeting Akeju (the UI SU Leader) was given 1m naira for the Youths who were around (some had gone and others left).
“I personally called a few people here and asked them of their opinion, some said since the money wasn’t rejected immediately it was gotten, we should go ahead and share it and others said we should return it.
“Another person said, for a Governor who has been supportive of the #EndSARS movement will in no way give out 1m to suppress any voice. The money was shared equally with everyone around (26). As for me, I took my share. Why?
- How would we go back and say we returned M250,000 out of the N1 million to the Governor, I don’t even think the person we are giving the money to will return it and even tell the Governor such.
- For a Governor who has been supportive, I didn’t think he would want to buy our voice over.
“I would be using the money collected to run a worthy cause at Bodija Market on Thursday.”
Another youth present at the meeting who also collected the money wrote, “After the meeting that was supposed to be an EndSars meeting, A special aide of the Governor handed N1 million naira to Akeju. After many deliberation, some people agreed to collect their own share of the N1m, which is N40,000 per person while the remaining 9 of us did not collect the money.
“NANS President brought some thugs that tried to hijack the total money from us, after many deliberation, we gave them N20,000 and the security officials at OYHA N10,000.
“After the sharing, we took the money that was returned to Hon. Seun Fakorede office, Unfortunately we didn’t meet him on seat and someone is in custody of the money. We have fixed a meeting with him where the remaining money will be returned to him personally… I am not in custody of the money.”
Meanwhile, widely known digital enterpreneur, Asiwaju Lerry who was also present at the meeting but rejected the money noted that any group of youths fighting for justice tends to grapple over a little amount of money.
“Find a group of Youths fighting for their rights and for justice, toss a little amount of money into their gathering and watch how they grapple over it. We’ve seen it happened before, we’re seeing it again,” he tweeted on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Akeju has also come out to state his role in the whole issue.
According to him, he was one of those who rejected the money.
“I was surprised to have found my name being dragged online about collecting some money. Below is the narratives.
“I was called upon at a meeting with the governor to speak on demands of EndSARS. I went back to meet the people’s presence at the moment and they asked me to speak. Upon this I got points from them and presented.
“Immediately, after the meeting N1 million was brought to us in the presence of the people. Being the spokesperson, they handed over to me and I asked the people present of what should be done with the money. Some of them wanted it and some of us wanted to return it. They then decided that those that want the money should collect it and those that don’t want should not take. Eight of us did not take the money.
“We went back to return the balance to the Commissioner. He was not there. But I went back with other two persons to meet him.
Please let it be stated that I didn’t collect any money. Eight of us refused to collect the money. You can confirm from the Commissioner for Youth and Sport. I don’t need any N40,000 to survive from anyone. I remain with my integrity and it will be like that,” he added.
Another participant who rejected the money popularly known as Aristotle alleged that he was harrassed by thugs because of his stance during that the money should not be shared.
“I, Apostle have fought for the voiceless that the money should not be shared and other Comrades like Alasiri, like Smith, like K.J, like Duke, we all stood against them that the money should not be shared.
“Just a short while ago, they mobilized thugs to harass us. I was outside the place and pointed and accussing finger at me that I am the one claiming not to partake in the sharing of the money.
“I told them to erase my name from the list. The President of the Poly Ibadan, who insisted that the money should be shared. The NANS Zone D President was there as well.”