Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to withdraw the troops deployed in Lagos. He described the presence of soldiers on the streets of Lagos as uncalled for, adding that the right of Lagosians to protest against any government policy should be guaranteed. But the governor noted that such rights go with some duties on the part of the citizenry. According to him, the protesters have been peaceful.
Fashola, in a state broadcast, said: “I, therefore, urge the reconsideration of the decision to deploy soldiers and implore the President and Commander-in-Chief to direct their withdrawal from our streets.” The governor said the right of free speech and protest is not absolute, adding that they impose the duty not to break the law, breach the peace, endanger human life or destroy property whether public or private.
“They also impose the duty to respect the rights of others not to support our protest and indeed to support what we oppose. At the end of the day, it is a contest of ideas in which the most persuasive will get the endorsement of the majority of the people we serve,” Fashola said, adding: “I am convinced that our democracy is mature enough to accommodate this. We must do our best to ensure that it does.”