Governors, Atiku: SARS dissolution a testament to people’s power

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, have described the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as a testament to the people’s power.

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde said peaceful protests are a legitimate way for citizens to make their grievances known.

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said the disbanding of SARS is in order.

Obaseki and Okowa spoke yesterday in statements by their media aides.

Obaseki said: “I appreciate the Nigeria Police Force for listening to the yearnings and concerns of the Nigerian people by disbanding its SARS unit, in response to the #ENDSARS protests.

“We are pleading with the youths to reciprocate the responsiveness of the police’s leadership by de-escalating the confrontations.

“As for the peaceful protesters arrested in different locations across Edo State, I have opened discussions with the state’s police command to effect their release.”

Edo governor also stated that the resolution of the face-off between the youths and the police was a step in the right direction.

Okowa said: “The Nigerian youth can take pride in the fact that they have won a major victory for the right to free movement and association without let or hindrance.”

Okowa and Obaseki commended Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu for the disbandment of the squad.

”While commending the Police for not suppressing these protests, the disbandment of SARS is a visible demonstration of how government agencies should respond to the grievances of our people and their agitations for justice and good governance in a democracy.

“Finally, let me say that the IGP should not stop at disbanding SARS. That is but one step in the multiple steps required in carrying out a comprehensive reform of the Nigeria Police Force.

“Such a reform should cover matters relating to recruitment, training and welfare of the rank and file,” Okowa said.

The youths, who tried to maintain the COVID-19 protocol of wearing face masks, protested around the oil city of Warri.

For Makinde, who spoke in a state broadcast on Monday following the violence in Ogbomoso, he ordered the men of the state Police Command to take the back seat in the effort to curtail the violence.

He said: “The past few days have been ones of grief for the people of Oyo State. I cannot imagine the pain and frustration of the parents and families of those who have died or are hospitalised as a result of the actions of the Nigeria Police Force during these #EndSARS protests.

“As I stated clearly in my earlier statement, peaceful protests are a legitimate way for citizens to make their grievances known to the government and it is totally unacceptable for anyone to be hurt during such protests.

“It is unfortunate that men of the Police who were trained to protect the citizens have now turned their guns against unarmed citizens.”

Activist lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has urged Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu to order his men to give Nigerians seeking abolition of the SARS protection.

Falana said: “Since Nigerians are entitled to the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly guaranteed by sections 39 and 40 of the Constitution and articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, the Authorities of the Nigeria Police Force should to provide adequate security for the aggrieved members of the public who are demanding for the abolition of the SARS through peaceful marches, meetings and rallies.

The activist lawyer, in a statement yesterday, expressed solidarity with the protesters seeking abolition of SARS.

He said: “But since similar measures did not end the SARS excesses in the recent past ASCAB is convinced that the knee jerk reactions of the authorities cannot end the institutionalised atrocities perpetrated by the SARS and other security agencies.”

He said: “In view of the concern recently expressed by both President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo about the allegations of human rights violations routinely committed by the operatives of SARS the Federal Government must walk its talk by implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on SARS reform. Furthermore, the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission should be reconstituted by the President without any further delay.”

Falana said it is the duty of the state governors to jointly exercise police powers with the president.

He regretted that state governments have failed to supervise the Police and other security agencies operating in their jurisdiction.

Culled From The Nation

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