Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has appealed to the #EndSARS protesters to acknowledge the progress the State Government is making in meeting their demands and seeking end to police brutality.
Sanwo-Olu who addressed Lagosians at the Lagos House, Marina lamented that law abiding citizens have been subjected to untold hardship as they find it difficult to commute to work and their homes to meet their families due to road blockage and the resultant gridlock.
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According to him, two fatalities were recorded in the last 14 hours due to inability to access quick medical care as a result of disruption to free flow of traffic orchestrated by the protests.
He also made known that there are reports of medical evacuations hindered by the blockage of key roads and the worsening traffic arising from the protests.
Lagos State, he said, is beginning to record violent incidents as well as break down of law and order.
“This week, we have seen an escalation in incidents arising from the protests,” he lamented.
While he noted that the protesters have the constitutional right to protest, he stressed that the law abiding citizens also have the right to go about their normal daily activities.
He therefore called for moderation, saying, ” Your voices have been heard, not only in Lagos and Nigeria but globally. We have met three of the five demands you presented while the remaining two have been forwarded to the appropriate authorities. All the points raised by you are genuine and critical but it is time for us to move on,”
“We feel your pain and share your clamour for far-reaching Police reforms, for a Police that serves and protects the people of Lagos and Nigeria, not one that intimidates and oppresses the people. Nigeria’s development aspirations will not be achieved without a responsive and ethical Police,” he said, appealing to them to show leadership and courage.
The governor further expressed worry over the large gathering of protesters that could possibly lead to a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the state, which he said is a bad signal for the State, being the epicentre of the pandemic.
“In the past few days, we have began to see an increase in cases of COVID-19 cases. If some of the protesters are asymptomatic, what of their parents and other family members that could be infected with COVID19,” he asked.
Coming out of a National Economic Council Sub-Committee Meeting, Sanwo-Olu said that they unanimously decided as a Council to inaugurate a 7-member panel of enquiry on the protesters’ demands.
He disclosed that a 7-man judicial panel of enquiry and restitution for victims of SARS related abuses in Lagos State has been constituted to ensure that all verifiable cases of SARS brutality or fatality receive compensation. The Panel will be chaired by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi.
Also, Lagos State government according to the governor will be setting up a help desk for the complaints, and petitions to the panel, urging Nigerians to reach the help desk on 0901 051 3203; 3204 and 3205 as from next week.
It would be recalled that the state government had earlier set up a N200M victims compensation fund to take care of all compensation due to those verifiable cases of SARS brutality and fatality in the State.
“In Lagos State, we are also taking the issue of police misconduct very seriously. Earlier this week, we recorded an incident of police misconduct at the Area C Command in Surulere. All four erring police officers including Inspector Bagou Michael; Inspector Ekpoudom Etop; Sgt Nnamdi Majura and Sgt. Akinyemi Benson are facing an orderly room trial which we are monitoring closely,” he assured.