By Rotimi Ojomoyela, Ado-Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Sunday described the EndSARS protest as a noble course, saying It was supported in Ekiti not because of those involved, but for the reason behind the action.
Fayemi, who disclosed he had been a victim of police brutality in the past, said that he would join other good intentioned Nigerians to take the youth’s EndSARS agitations serious.
This was as the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari would listen and implement all the demands made by the youth during the EndSARS protest.
They spoke in Ado Ekiti on Sunday during an interaction session held by stakeholders’ on the recent #EndSARS protest that resonated panic across the country.
Governor Fayemi said the case of police brutality was one issue that affects every fact of the society, revealing that he was a victim in 2014 while seeking reelection.
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Fayemi , who was defeated in the June 21, 2014 election by his predecessor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, had prior to the election allegedly teargased by a team police operatives at Mugbagba area of Ado Ekiti while some APC governor were prevented from entering the state to campaign for him having been allegedly stopped by security agencies at the borders.
Describing the youths as the engineroom of the nation’s economy, Governor Fayemi stated that there was need for the governments to partner the youth for sustainable peace and development .
“The EndSARS protest was a noble course . It was supported here in Ekiti not because of those involved, but for the reason behind the action which we believe would help the police to put their house in order.
“The youth protest in Ekiti was well intentioned and peaceful. Right to peaceful protest is an inalienable right. For the first time we have panel of inquiries at every level of government to tackle our issues. We must not resort to violence as a solution to our agitations. We must all speak in unison against violence as we did in unison against Police brutality.
“Our youth are angry , because as they were coming out of closure of schools over Coronavirus pandemic , they entered into ASUU strike, then there is hunger in the land and the harsh economic situation in our country.
“The government has done many intervention programmes and had proscribed SARS and introduced youth investment fund and many others as a response to the youth agitations.
“I commiserate with the families of those who paid the supreme price. We identify with them. The panels that we set up will look into the reasons behind the protest and how best to address the issues raised, because EndSARS protest had placed a moral burden on all of us that we must be vigilant.
“I am a victim of police brutality myself. You could all recall what happened to me during my election of 2014. But some policemen had also rendered good services to me, so not all of them are bad.
“Our police must be motivated to do well. Policemen must be well remunerated . There must be good motivation for the police to be able to to discharge their duties effectively” .
Also giving reassurance that President Buhari will implement all the issues raised by the youth, Adebayo said : “The purpose why we are here today is that, all the Ministers working under President Buhari got a presidential order to hold interactions with the people . Mr President listens to people. He wanted to use this interaction to feel the pulse of all Nigerians .
“We appreciate Governor Fayemi for setting us a panel to inquire about police brutality and other issues that are connected . As your representative at FEC, I will continue to do my best to represent Ekiti well .
He advised youth to always apply for any youth oriented programmes being rolled out by the federal government and stop having the erroneous impression that they won’t be enlisted as beneficiary, apply first and see what happens”.
In his contributions, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 17, comprising Ondo and Ekiti, Mr. David Folawiyo, said the EndSARS protest had actually exhumed fundamental issues indicative of the rots in the system.
“Ultimate power belongs to the masses, especially the youth . The EndSARS agitations didn’t state that the police were bad, but they said the SARS operatives were bad. We agreed that there were bad eggs in the SARS but in most cases people were the ones requesting for SARS services.
“We know that we have to restructure the police and that will be done. But we should all work together to make the police effective. We should all be patriotic and once we have this spirit, there won’t be SARS again. The police must be well equipped and ultimately, we must all collaborate to end SARS”.
Also, the Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN), Mr. Eyitayo Fabunmi, called for total reform of the Police , so that they can be more professional and civil in the discharge of their duties.
“It is high time we concentrated more on building the youths. The universities are churning out graduates on yearly basis without jobs and our leaders are unconcerned, if they are unconcerned we are concerned as victims.
“The Ministries of youth at the federal and state levels must be well funded to be able to tackle issues relating to youths. Governments can replicate Youth Trust fund to empower youth population National Youth Investment fund should also be localised to be in all the councils for better accessibility. The politicians should also open their doors for the youths and perceive us as collaborators rather than “.
Present at the occasion were the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, Speaker , Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Bishop Felix Ajakaye, the Chief Imam of Ekiti and President League of Alfas, Alhaji Jamiu Kewulere, traditional rulers, youth groups, security organisations,