Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has apologized to Nigerians and also admitted and faulted the Federal Government for not moving faster in addressing the demands of Nigerians calling for a total ban of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS unit of the police.
Osinbajo, in a series of tweets on Friday night, said he knows many Nigerians are angry, and that their anger was justified.
He said he understands the feeling of many young people in the country, noting that many feel that the government has been too silent and has simply not done enough, adding that the feelings of frustration are justified.
Osinbajo noted that far too many people have been brutalized by the police, saying that this is unacceptable.
The VP said that it was the responsibility of the government to protect young people, even from those who are paid to protect them.
The Vice President noted that the nationwide protests goes beyond agitations about SARS, adding that the government has undertaken comprehensive measures that will revamp the police by addressing issues of welfare, service conditions, and training.
Panic Over Police Absence On Roads
LAGOSIANS have expressed worry over the continued absence of policemen on major roads and streets in the state.
For instance, many vehicles stationed at flashpoints in different parts of the state to ensure police presence, have been removed.
A drive round Lekki area of Lagos showed that police vans usually stationed at the Lekki Phase 1 and 2, Ikate and Ajah areas, had disappeared. Also, the Armoured Personnel Carriers, APCs, usually stationed at flashpoints, were not seen.
Areas like Mile-Two Oke, Cele, Isolo and Toyota bus-stops had no police presence as it used to be before the attacks on policemen and police formations by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protests.
Commuters plying the Mile-2/Badagry expressway are the worst hit at the moment as traffic robbers dispossess them of cash, telephones and other valuables, daily.
In some areas, hoodlums extort Lagosians who could not beat the 8pm to 6 am curfew time because of traffic.
Police lost 70 vehicles during protests
Investigation by Vanguard also revealed that the regular midnight patrols of areas by Police divisions have also ceased, thereby giving room to rogues to operate unhindered.
However, absence of the midnight patrols was attributed to shortage of vehicles to carry out this routine duty, as the command had over 70 of its vehicles burnt and destroyed by hoodlums during the riots.
Also absent from the roads are officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, who complement the Police in traffic control.
As at yesterday, some officials of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps, LNSC, were seen controlling traffic at some points, including members of the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, and community youths.
At Pako, Oke-Afa area of the state, some community youths were seen with sticks and other hard objects which were used on defiant motorists. Before their arrival Wednesday night, motorists were trapped for close to three hours at the junction, as everyone attempted to outsmart one another.
We lost 13 vehicles, 4 badly vandalised – FRSC
The FRSC attributed the absence of its officials on Lagos roads to lack of vehicles to carry out the function, revealing that it lost 13 operational vehicles in Lagos State alone, on October 24, with four others badly vandalized.
It, therefore, posited that no organisation would like to put the lives of its staff on the line given the situation on ground.
In addition, it was further revealed that FRSC officials were scared of being attacked by hoodlums again, since they unlike the police are not armed.
FRSC Spokesman, Asst. Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, said the organisation was scaling down its operations due to the recent attacks. He explained that “what we are doing presently is rescue operations. Every staff is on standby for rescue.”
We are still working– DPOs
Nevertheless, some Divisional Police Officers, DPOs whose stations were burnt, told Vanguard that their men were still working.
One of them said: “Why won’t we work? The attack is not the end of the job, it is one of its hazards. The only thing is that some of our men wear mufti to control traffic and when you see them, you would not know they are policemen. This is because their uniform were burnt when the hoodlums invaded the station and you don’t expect them to sew these uniform in a hurry.
‘’Again, what we did was to rotate the regular faces that control traffic, so as to avoid a situation where they may be recognized and possibly attacked. But we are working because the Commissioner of Police has told us to go back to work.’’
OPC at work
In the face of the panic, some Lagos communities have hired the services of members of the Oduua Peoples Congress, OPC, to checkmate crimes. Vanguard reliably gathered that these OPC members assisted in the arrest of some hoodlums, who partook in the attacks on policemen and invasion of some COVID-19 warehouses, where palliatives were carted away. Some of them were apprehended with items looted from malls in Surulere and other parts of the state and handed over to the Police for prosecution.
We have returned to work – CP Odumosu
Contacted, the Lagos Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, insisted that his men had returned to work
His words:” Our men are fully on the road. We have a strategy of early morning patrol. As early as 5am, area commanders patrol their jurisdictions so that if they (hoodlums) decide to come out in the morning, we would be there before their arrival. It is a strategy that has worked for us
“Policemen in the command are not cowed. Our spirits have been lifted. The Inspector-General of Police has spoken to us and I have spoken to all my men in the command. There is no more the issue of fear. We are out. I therefore urge Lagosians to feel free to call on policemen if they have any complaint.
“Even in areas where police stations were burnt, policemen are still there because we are making makeshift offices for them. Security of such areas should not be jeopardized because some miscreants may want to hijack the situation to attack people. We are making chairs, tables and even canopies available. We will not abandon people living in areas where police formations were burnt. We must provide them with security.”
Vice President Osinbajo Chairs Committee To Address Issues Behind #EndSARS Protests
The Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will chair a committee to address the “deeper issues” behind the demonstrations against police brutality.
The panel was set up following an emergency meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) in Abuja on Monday.
The meeting which was chaired by Osinbajo lasted for four hours, according to Laolu Akande, the vice-president’s spokesman.
In attendance at the meeting were governors; Mohammed Bello, federal capital territory (FCT) minister; Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police (IGP), as well as representatives of the Nigerian army and the National Human Rights Commission.
The panel will engage the youth, civil society organisations (CSOs), as well as religious and traditional leaders on employment, the government’s social safety net programmes, national unity, among other issues.
The committee is expected to develop a framework on how the federal and state governments will respond to “the fundamental issues underlining the protests and arrive at effective solutions, including how to enhance Nigeria’s national security”.
The council commended the police and other security agencies for handling “disturbances” in some states and added that they are capable of restoring law and order in the country.
The committee has the following governors as members: Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Abubakar Bello of Niger, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, David Umahi of Ebonyi, and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.
#EndSARS: Gov. Ganduje Appreciates Kano People For Rejecting Violence
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state appreciates how Kano people rejected to participate in violence-ridden protests, which caused destruction of lives and properties in some parts of the country.
Recalling that “Even before some states were engulfed in the violent protests, we called meetings of stakeholders, – we already have Peace Committee in the state, long before now – with whom we discussed modalities on how to continue living in peace with one another.”
In a statement signed by Abba Anwar, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kano State said he specifically mentioned security agencies, traditional institutions, leaders of Muslim groups, youth groups, civil society leaders, leaders of the communities of Igbo, Yoruba and other ethnic nationalities, among other stakeholders who stood firmly, under the guidance and monitoring of the state government in the area of promotion of peace in the state.
“Words could not express our sincere gratitude to the teeming youth in the state, who refused to partake in any violent activity. Even those who tried to cause mayhem, the situation was immediately controlled. Our youth you deserve all accolades from the state government and the people of the state, Kudos our youth Kudos,” he appreciated.
Not only youth, according to him, “Those deserve to be acknowledged and commended are our Clerics from both Islamic and Christian sections of the society, Igbo leaders, Yoruba leaders, and the leaders of all other ethnic nationalities deserve our commendation from us,” he hinted.
Leaders of the civil society groups, the governor added, “Deserve our full fledged commendation for being part and parcel of all our peace process when violent protests engulfed some states of the federation. We saw in them, just like all other groups, courage and patriotism.”
“Our acknowledgement and commendation is incomplete when we did not mention media people. All that is done and executed in the entire peace process, could be seen as an exercise in futility if media people refuse to join such effort.
But fortunately for all of us, media men help much in avoiding fake news and hate speech in the state. This goes a long way in finding an atmosphere of lasting peace in our dear state. Media men deserve all the accolades, and deserve many more,” governor Ganduje reiterates.
Governor Ganduje added that, all those who helped in one way or the other, to keep Kano peaceful, should also be commended, explaining that, “Security is everybody’s business. For a continued peaceful coexistence in the state, all hands must continue to be on deck.”
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