About 10 months after five police officers were murdered and seven police stations burnt during the #EndSARS protest in Oyo State, relevant authorities are yet to attend to the plight of affected officers.
Daily Trust reports that Governor Seyi Makinde had in November last year promised to rebuild police stations burnt during the EndSARS protest in the state.
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Our correspondent observed that police officers in Ojoo command now operate under a canopy set up at Ojoo roundabout, hence, endangering the lives of the officers.
Daily Trust reports that five police officers were killed while many sustained injuries in the state during the October 2020 EndSARS nationwide protest.
The affected officers were; Adegoke Ajibola, Rotimi Oladele, Peter Agunbiade, James Akanmu, and Alidu Yusuf Wada.
Six of the stations burnt were in Ibadan, the state capital while one in Iseyin, a town in Oke-Ogun geopolitical zone of the state was affected.
Six of the stations were completely razed and one partially burnt.
Among the police stations that were razed are Egbeda Divisional Headquarters in Gbagi, Ogungbade police station, Adelubi police station, Alabebe police station, Ojoo police station and Iseyin police station.
Only Akobo police station was partially burnt.
The governor made the promise when he visited the headquarters of the Oyo State Police Command in Eleyele, Ibadan.
He also said the families of the officers killed during the protest would be compensated from the N500 million fund earlier announced by the government.
“The Commissioner of Police just handed over a document to me a few minutes ago and it contains the request from the Oyo State Command of the Nigeria Police; stations that have to be rebuilt, logistics that have to be taken care of.
“I have not read it, I stand before you to say that everything listed in it for us to do has been accepted and we will do it.
“The government has set up an initial N500 million fund, the families of the policemen that were killed will be compensated from the N500 million and I pray for the souls of the departed officers,” Makinde said.
But our correspondent, who went round the burnt stations, reports that they are yet to be reconstructed after ten months while the officers are left hanging around the station.
A source from the Nigeria Police Force told Daily Trust that officers in the pacesetter state are not happy with the government over the non-fulfilment of its pledge for the families of the EndSARS victims.
The wife of one of the affected officers told Daily Trust that things have been very hard for the family of the affected officers since the death of their husbands.
Speaking with Daily Trust, the minister of defence for Agbekoya in Nigeria, Mr Olomowewe Akeem, said the police are doing their best but their best is not enough because of a lack of motivation from the government.
“The families of those who were killed during EndSARS have not been compensated in Oyo State, how do you want others to lay their lives for the state?
“They are having it in mind that if they die, the government won’t do anything for them. We have said it severally that the state government should compensate those who lost their lives, both civilian and police.
“The implications of the way the government is handling the issues of the police is showing that he doesn’t love police and the people they are governing.
“Aside from compensating those who were killed, the government should also provide ammunitions for Amotekun corps. The government didn’t release ammunitions for the Amotekun people which is wrong.
“I have made effort to rebuild the burnt stations but Makinde is blocking me. The Ojoo Police Station is dear to me because that was where my grandmother and myself used to sell pepper and some other petty things in the 70s. Besides, that location is very strategic. We must not allow politics of bitterness and selfishness to affect our people.”
Adelabu also said when he decided “to give a token to the wives of the affected officers, the state government, and the commissioner of police in the state, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, were blocking me”, suspecting him to be playing politics with it.
“I made the cheque of N2 million available for them the day I visited the commissioner of police, but she said the police had to contact Abuja. We need to put politics aside and team up to serve our people better,” Adelabu said.
Our correspondent observed that robbery and many other social vices are rampant in many of the areas where the stations were burnt during the EndSARS protest.
Many residents alleged that police officers folded their arms whenever robbers invade communities in the state because of poor remuneration and the attitude of the state government towards families of those killed during the EndSARS protest.
A police officer who craved for anonymous told Daily Trust that officers’ experiences during the EndSARS protest were demoralizing and disheartening.
The wife of one of the victims, who spoke on behalf of others, Mrs Beauty Akanmu, said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, told them that the former CP in the state, Joe Enwonwu, did not leave their husbands’ file with the police while leaving the office.
The widows said all effort to get the former commissioner of police had proved abortive as he refused to pick their calls.
Akanmu further noted that the police authority has reallocated their apartments to other officers, hence asking the widows to leave the barracks.
She said the widows have withdrawn some of their children from school as they could not afford to pay their fees.
“I am addressing you with heavy heart and sadness. For the past few days, I have not been able to eat, let alone sleep. Since I lost my joy last year October, life has been miserable for me and other victims.
“None of us is happy. Our children ask us for the remains of their fathers almost every day but we keep making promises to them. We need the corpses of our husbands. The police should release them to us. We cannot feed our children. We have withdrawn them from school.
“We heard they have sent cheques for entitlement of our husbands but the insurance company handing it is yet to release it to us. We approached the CP but she said she didn’t have our files with her because her predecessor didn’t drop them.
“We want the police authority to release to us even if it is their carcasses, we shall accept them and bury. It will serve as evidence for our children when they grow up.
“We want the federal, state governments, well-to-do in Nigerians, and human rights activists to intervene in our matter,” she said.
Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor of the state, Mr Taiwo Adisa, said the state government is waiting for the recommendations of the EndSARS protest.
“The EndSARS panel in Oyo State is handling it and we are waiting for their report. The committee has completed their job and we are waiting for their report and recommendations.”
On the burnt police stations, Adisa said “the governor has approved redesigning and reconstruction of the stations.”
The special adviser to the governor on security matters, Fatai Owoseni, said the state government had done the assessment of the affected police stations and the needful would be done soon.