Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has deflected the naming of a hall after him, in favour of the 43 students of Federal Government College Buni Yadi, Gujba Local Government Area, Yobe State who were massacred early on Tuesday by adherents of the Boko Haram Islamist sect.
Originally named after the governor by the Lagos Zonal Council of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), the hall, located in Fadeyi, will now be named “Peace Hall” in honour of the slain pupils.
“I appreciate NUPENG’s gesture but I will rename this edifice ‘Peace Hall’, in memory of the lives of the children that were brutally slain in Yobe by insurgents”, Fashola said, adding that the children would soon be forgotten but renaming the hall after them will remind everyone of the need to insist on peace across all parts of the country.
He prayed for the repose of the slain children but urged citizens of the country to stand up and be counted in the quest against violence, irrespective of language, religion or ethnicity.
“No matter how diverse we are, we are still one people. This is a time when colours and flag do not matter and political ideologies mean nothing”, he said. “This is the time we must show and respect the values of the lives of fellow Nigerians”.
Fashola also used the opportunity to canvass his well-documented aversion to industrial actions by labour unions, urging NUPENG to employ industrial actions in championing their agitations only when all other alternatives have failed.
“Most times, some workers do not even know the reason why they are called out on strike; the executives are the only ones who decide to embark on strikes”, he said.
The 43 students were murdered from about 12:15am until after 4am on Tuesday, as Boko Haram gunmen slaughtered and fired gunshots at them in a manner that those who saw the corpses have described as horrible.
The attack has since been condemned by a host of international organisations led by the United Nations, as well as local groups, political parties and individuals.
On Thursday while speaking on the occasion of the Centenary Conference themed Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century, President Goodluck Jonathan promised to continue responding “strategically and decisively” to the scourge of terrorism, saying “...together with our people, we shall end the killings and bring terrorism to an end”.