Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, yesterday called on #EndSARS demonstrators in the state to be civil in their conduct, asking them not allow the idea behind the protest to be hijacked by hoodlums and selfish people.
He equally charged security agencies to always exercise great restraint and avoid use of force in managing the protests.
The governor’s appeal was contained in a Press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Kunle Somorin.
Prince Abiodun while identifying with the objectives of the protest against law enforcement agencies, insisted that peaceful protest was a legitimate way of showing grievances against perceived high-handedness or injustice with any system.
It would be recalled that the governor recently ordered the release of all the demonstrators arrested in the wake of the protest in Ogun State.
He also ensured that the charges preferred against three suspects that were arraigned in court and remanded in a custodial centre on 12 October 2020, were dropped, following his instruction to the State’s Attorney-General that the State would not press the charges any further.
The governor explained that the state would facilitate investigation into any act of brutality of citizens by law enforcement agencies, compensate the victims and hold any erring law enforcement officer accountable.
He pleaded with the youths to shun conductso capable of breaching public peace and safety, noting that such may also lead to undesirable outcomes that run counter to the reason for the protest in the first instance.
The youth, he said, should allow the planned reform of the police, starting with the immediate disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other measures already announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Ogun State Government will continue to maintain keen interest in the planned police reform and ensure that the desired and lasting changes that make will Nigeria Police a professional, people-centred, and responsive public institution that operate within the ambit of the law are achieved” the statement added.
“We as elected officials are elected to serve the people. We derive our mandate from their consent and are obliged to defend their rights at all times. Their welfare and security are the primary purpose we are in Government. Besides the mandate of the electorate, I am also a father and can relate to the pain of brutality or harm being inflicted on innocent youth, particularly by public institution charged with the responsibility of protection of life and property.
“On this issue, people’s voices have been heard loud and clear all over the nation and even beyond and the government at various levels, particularly the federal government, have listened and initiated a number of steps that demonstrate commitment to fulfilling the yearnings of Nigerians. I therefore plead with our youth to please bring an end to the protests that sometimes lead to stampedes and accidents and allow the process of the planned reform to progress. Reform and development can only happen in an atmosphere of peace and security” he concluded.