As part of measures aimed at reconciliation and achieving true healing after the disturbances that trailed last year’s protests against police brutality, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has invited youths, particularly known celebrities that led demonstration against the disbanded police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), for EndSARS victims solidarity peace walk.
Among the celebrities the governor personally invited were Folarin Falana (Falz), Debo Adebayo (Mr. Marcaroni), Dele Farotimi, Temitope Majekodunmi, Segun Awosanya (Segalinks), Adedotun (Just Detoun), Seun Kuti.
Other notable figures invited to join him in what he described as the “historic march for our dear Lagos” include Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu and Commander of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Yinka Egbeyemi among others.
Sanwo-Olu who said that the state currently faced the hard choice of restoring harmony or doing itself a great harm, urged residents to join his administration in strengthening harmony and put the state on the path of peace following the EndSARS panel report.
During a live broadcast on Tuesday to give the State Government’s position on the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on EndSARS submitted a fortnight ago, the governor noted that only sustenance of harmony can guarantee the realisation of aspirations of all residents.
Sanwo-Olu asked residents to reject those fueling anarchy and suspicion, clinging to unsubstantiated belief that carried no weight of verifiable evidence, while choosing emotion over facts.
His administration, he said, was ready to facilitate better communication between the youths and the State’s security machinery to resolve issues before they become intractable.
He said he would be leading ‘A Walk for Peace’ in December to herald the healing of the land, extending an open invitation to the youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students and the media as well as other stakeholders to join him in the Peace Walk.
“Nobody will build this city for us. Let us show the world who we are. We are Lagosians. A people of great renown, driven by the irrepressible spirit of Lagos. It is a testimony to our strength and resilience as a people that, despite the huge losses incurred because of these terrible incidents, we have bounced back, with our economy as vibrant and virile as ever. I have no doubt whatsoever that our prospects are as bright as ever and the best lies ahead of Lagos State and Nigeria.
“We will make it easier for our young people to initiate formal complaints on human rights violations through the Ministry of Justice. We will also improve the coordination between the state government and the security agencies, including the police and the military. In this vein, we are studying how to improve security policy formulation, information sharing, and clarifying rules of engagement in times of social unrest.
“Just as we have established a mechanism to compensate all those who lost homes, businesses, and livelihoods to the violent destruction of October 2020, we shall also establish a detailed procedure for the just compensation of citizens with verified claims of police brutality committed during the protests.”
Speaking on last year’s EndSARS protests and the events that followed, especially the hijack of the protests by hoodlums, which led to the destruction of public and private property worth billions of naira, the governor said that the government, youth, protesters, police and other security agencies have learned the appropriate lessons from the EndSARS protests, particularly the Lekki Tollgate incident, with a view to averting any recurrence to the detriment of the State.
On mixed reactions following the release of the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Sanwo-Olu said that his administration remained committed to the process that would bring a closure to a “painful episode” in the history of the State.
Sanwo-Olu, while expressing his administration’s commitment to end human rights abuses, said that he has never been in any doubt as to the sincerity, patriotism and noble motivations of both organisers of EndSARS protests and those who participated in the movement to see an end to the human rights abuses by the now disbanded SARS.