The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to youths demonstrating against police brutality across the state to leave the roads and embrace dialogue for resolution of their agitations, saying continuous demonstration would thwart implementation of the protesters’ five-point demands.
He explained that continuous blocking of roads, government, and private offices would slow down procedure of implementing the demands, adding that rather than engage in demonstrations, protesters should be part of the process of implementing the reforms.
Sanwo-Olu said that though concerns raised by protesters were genuine and legitimate, there was need for the youths to embrace dialogue in addressing all concerns to augment actions taken by his administration, among which were constitution of Judicial Panel of Inquiry and setting up of compensation funds for victims of police brutality.
Speaking on Monday during the swearing-in of members of Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at the State House in Marina, the Governor assured that the state government in collaboration with Federal Government would set process in motion to implement other changes demanded.
According to him, the task of reforming the police was achievable, but required the input and cooperation of the youth to accomplish the task as your tenacity has made the much-desired change in the policing system become inevitable.
“We have shown unprecedented commitment to the complete overhaul of the Nigerian Police. The inauguration of this Judicial Panel of Inquiry is only the first step in a long line of reformative actions that will lead to a thorough revamp and reorientation of the Nigeria Police. I believe that some of the actions we have taken should, to a large extent, show our sincerity and willingness to address all your concerns.
“Let me reiterate that I am on the side of the young people out there. I understand your pain and I know your concerns are genuine and legitimate. While we are able to immediately acquiesce to some of your demands, some others will require time. We ask you to bear with us as we dutifully work on your demands.
“I will, therefore, like to renew my appeal to you to suspend the protests and create an atmosphere for the resolution of all pending demands. I encourage everyone brutalised by the disbanded SARS, including the families of those who died, to present their case before this tribunal.”
Speaking about the judicial panel, the Governor said he was convinced that its outcome and recommendations would open a new chapter in the police-citizen relationship.
He promised that the State Government would ensure that all wounds are healed, justice served to victims of abuse, and guilty police officers prosecuted.