By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti Government has described as untrue and misleading the social media reports that soldiers have taken over the Ado- Ekiti, the State Capital, and chased protesters with guns.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Value Orientation, Akin Omole, said this in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday, in Ado-Ekiti.
Omole said soldiers did not engage the protesters even as they barricaded most roads in the state capital throughout Monday.
According to the Commissioner for Information, “the soldiers were in Ekiti to protect the people, including the protesters as well as to prevent hoodlums and miscreants from hijacking the peaceful protest by hiding behind the demonstration to commit a crime and harass innocent citizens.
He described the present administration led by Gov Kayode Fayemi, a renowned activist and advocate of good governance as “a respecter of human rights.”
Omole admonished the #ENDSARS protesters to remain law-abiding and refrain from harassing innocent fellow citizens to avoid a total hijack of the protest by criminals and hooligans.
Omole noted that Fayemi has promptly set up a Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS and Related Abuses to investigate possible cases of police brutality in the Ekiti state in line with the decision of the governors’ forum and the recommendation of the National Economic Council.
The Commissioner assured that the panel which has retired Justice Cornelius Akintayo as Chairman and representation from Civil Society Organizations, including youth groups, will look into verifiable cases of SARS brutality and fatality and ensure offending SARS officers are identified and prosecuted appropriately while victims or their families are duly compensated.
He also stated that the Ekiti state government is aware that the concerns of the public go beyond a need for Police/SARS reforms to a basic demand for better governance, emphasizing that the state government had already commenced consultation with the people to address the fundamental issues that led to the protests with the establishment of the panel.
“While the present administration in Ekiti recognizes and respects the right of peaceful assembly, and in fact, identifies with the people on the demand for good governance, all stakeholders must be mindful of the safety of all lives and both public and private properties in the state.
“Innocent law-abiding citizens should be allowed to go about their lawful businesses without hindrance, while there must be due cognizance of the fact that willful destruction of property will be detrimental to the socio-economic wellbeing of the people,” Omole said
He assured that the Fayemi led administration would continue to work towards making life more meaningful for people in the state, in spite of the global economic downturn and the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.