Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, has appealed to the youth protesting against police brutality in the state to suspend the #EndSARS protests and embrace dialogue for the resolution of their grievances.
A statement by Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, said Sanwo-Olu made the appeal during the swearing-in of members of the judicial panel of inquiry and restitution at the government house in Marina, on Monday.
According to the statement, Sanwo-Olu said his government has shown sincerity and willingness to address all concerns raised by the protesters, given the actions taken so far.
He asked the protesters to be part of the process of implementing the reforms they clamoured for in the police, adding that continuous blocking of roads, government and private offices “would slow down the procedure of implementing their demands”.
He also asked the protesters to bear with the government as it strives to ensure that their demands are met as some of them would take time.
“We have shown unprecedented commitment to the complete overhaul of the Nigerian Police. The inauguration of this Judicial Panel of Inquiry is only the first step in a long line of reformative actions that will lead to a thorough revamp and reorientation of the Nigeria Police,” he said.
“I believe that some of the actions we have taken should, to a large extent, show our sincerity and willingness to address all your concerns.
“Let me reiterate that I am on the side of the young people out there. I understand your pain and I know your concerns are genuine and legitimate. While we are able to immediately acquiesce to some of your demands, some others will require time. We ask you to bear with us as we dutifully work on your demands.
“I will, therefore, like to renew my appeal to you to suspend the protests and create an atmosphere for the resolution of all pending demands. I encourage everyone brutalised by the disbanded SARS, including the families of those who died, to present their case before this tribunal.”
Sanwo-Olu said he believes the task of reforming the police is achievable but requires the input and cooperation of the youth to accomplish it.
He commended the cohesiveness of the “resilient” young people who stood their ground in the last two weeks, adding that their tenacity has made the much-desired change in the policing system become inevitable.
He assured them that the outcome of the judicial panel would open a new chapter in police-citizen relationship, promising that justice will be served to victims of abuse, and guilty police officers prosecuted.