Wilfred Eya, Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti, Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa and Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, said he and his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) were concerned about discontent, hunger and anger in the country and would be ready to work with other stakeholders to find a lasting solution.
Fayemi, who is the NGF Chairman, said the raging nationwide EndSARS protests resulted from years of pent-up emotion, anger and hunger, adding that governors were committed to larger reform of the polity beyond the much-touted police reform.
The governor spoke on at the special thanksgiving Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Old Garage, Ado-Ekiti as part of activities to mark the second anniversary of his administration.
Fayemi said he understood the frustration of young Nigerian who had taken to the streets, noting that he had used his younger years to participate in similar protests against bad governance, especially military dictatorship.
He lent his voice to the view of the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, the Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, who had called for an immediate suspension of the nationwide protests for the authorities to act on the protesters’ demand.
Fayemi who described himself as a product of God’s mercy sought forgiveness from those who he might have offended in the discharge of his duties.
According to him, he had sworn to an oath to do what was just and fair noting that his actions so far in office were based on fairness and justice.
He said he would always be thankful to God for giving him the grace to serve Ekiti people again, saying he sees himself as an instrument in God’s hands and the governorship seat as a missionary work.
Speaking on the wave of protests rocking the country on alleged police brutality in his sermon, Bishop Ajakaye called for an immediate end to the protests to allow the authorities to implement police reforms.
The cleric also urged the Federal Government to address the grievances of Nigerians on the state of the nation, insecurity, insurgency and hardship.
As the Ekiti State Security Network (Amotekun) is launched on Monday, Bishop Ajakaye admonished its operatives to be apolitical and work with integrity and fear of God.
Northern govs can’t speak for region – MBLF
The Middle Belt Leaders Forum (MBLF) has lambasted the Northern Governors Forum for insisting on the retention of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) .
National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Dr. Dogo Isuwa told Daily Sun that the governors were on their own and not speaking for the North.
He said it was tantamount to political insanity to support the retention of the dreaded SARS in the North when no part of Nigeria has suffered banditry and insecurity like the region.
“I find it amusing that they would come to say that they do not want SARS disbanded. They said SARS should be reformed and be retained in the North because they have helped and I wonder where have they helped when banditry and insecurity in the North have multiplied at geometric rate?
“Are they saying that the SARS are better than the Army and that the Army has failed and the SARS should replace them? Are they saying that SARS are better than the Army and the Air Force put together? How is it that SARS have not been able to stop the killings and kidnappings going on in the whole Northern zone particularly on the Abuja-Kaduna highway that you have these criminals on a regular basis?
“Something is wrong with the brains of the so-called Northern governors. What the youths are doing is more for the interest of the armed forces and Police than the youths themselves.”
He said the Middle Belt Forum totally disagreed with the governors considering the level of insecurity of lives and property in the northern region for a long time.
“The Northern governors are not speaking for the majority. They appear to be paid agents. Anybody who is sincere in the North would agree that there is no part of the North that is at peace. These people have been there from time immemorial and did not talk until now when the youths are rising and they now say they have come to see Buhari to tell him that they do not want SARS to be disbanded. Has the SARS not been there for ages? That is political insanity because no right thinking person would reason that way,” he said.
Nigerians in Diaspora begin collation of victims’ names
The Nigeria Diaspora Network (NDN) has begun collation of names of its members who have fallen victims of alleged brutality of the officers of disbanded SARS.
NDN, an association of Nigerians living abroad, stated this in a statement in Abuja by its International Coordinator, Mr Samuel Atolaiye.
Atolaiye also said the group would make strong representations for the victims in their various states as state governments began setting up commissions of enquiry to probe all the cases.
“Imagine a police service unit that is originally put together to protect the citizens from terror and armed robbers and is funded with taxes paid by the public, but the same unit became too powerful to earn the trust to protect the people.
“The NDN is already working here to get a list of Nigerians who have gone home from here but fell victim of the SARS and we would make strong representations for them in their states now that the states are now setting up commissions of enquiry to investigate all the cases,” he said.
It’ll be sacrilege to shoot protesters, Oyedepo warns
Presiding bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, David Oyedepo, has described the past five years under President Muhammadu Buhari as the most gruesome in the history of the country.
Speaking during a service at the auditorium of Cananland, Ota, Ogun state, the cleric said Nigerians have been pushed to the wall.
He said young people have the right to protest, warning security operatives not to attack them.
“Every man has a right, legitimately so, to express their displeasure and pains. I kept quiet for a while because in 2015, I warned this nation, vehemently, consistently, because I saw the dangers ahead and you can tell,” he said.
“The most gruesome season in the history of the nation is the last five years where lives have no value, wanton killings here and there.
“Now they have faced the youths and because they don’t know who is next, they have the right to say enough is enough. Any system that has no value for human lives is irrelevant.
“And now, it would be a sacrilege to shoot the protesters who are not looting, who are not ravaging. When you push a goat to the wall then you will know that goats have teeth to bite. It is a sacrilege to kill youths during a protest, this protest is legitimate.”
Oyedepo’s endorsement of the protest comes four days after Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), commended young persons for “speaking up.”
Bayelsa gov, IYC back protest
Bayelsa Governor, Douye Diri and the leadership of the umbrella body of Ijaw Youths Worldwide, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) have backed ongoing protests in Yenagoa, the State capital and other parts of the country against police brutality exemplified by the hashtags #EndSARS and #EndSWAT.
The protesters comprising professionals and youths bodies commenced their protest march from Tombia roundabout marching through Melford Okilo road to the Government House where they were received by Diri who marched with them to the Bayelsa Police Command Headquarters.
Diri while addressing the protesters declared that his administration would not condone acts that infringed on the fundamental rights of citizens in the state.
Being a firm advocate against all forms of police brutality, he said he moved motions as a federal legislator against extra-judicial killings and illegal detention in the state.
The umbrella body of Ijaw Youths Worldwide, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) have insisted that ongoing EndSARS protest was a metaphor for a structured Nigeria and not just an end to police brutality.
The IYC, through its spokesman, Mr. Ebilade Ekerefe. commended the undying spirits of the Nigerian youths in ensuring that the country is habitable for all and appeal to them to stay focused on the course and not derail no matter the provocations by retrogressive forces.
“This is not the time to joke with things that matters. President Muhammadu Buhari has an opportunity to make history, history that will consume us or reposition the country for excellence and become a statesman after power.
Meanwhile, the Coalition Of Human Rights Groups has condemned what it called “the use of violence” on EndSARS protesters, saying attacks on peaceful protesters constitute dangerous assaults on citizens’ constitutional rights.
The coalition made this known at a news conference on the state of the nation on the violent repression of peaceful #EndSARS protesters across the country.
Ms Idayat Hassan, one of the conveners, alleged that so far, the group has confirmed that at least 13 persons had been extra judicially killed in the course of the peaceful protest.
She alleged that Oyo recorded four deaths, Edo, two; Ondo, one; Osun, two; and Lagos four, in addition to attacks on peaceful assemblies in Oyo, Lagos, Edo, Plateau, Anambra, FCT, Kano and Osun states.
In reaction to the announcement by the military, the NGOs said: “We strongly condemn the ‘thinly-veiled’ threat issued by the military high command alleging that “this unacceptable move” is being made to crush the peaceful protests.”
Hassan said because the movement is exercising universally-recognised and constitutionally-guaranteed rights, it should be protected and not repressed.
Ms Abiodun Baiyewu, another convener, said the group joined Nigerian youths to demand accountability for previous, current, and continuing acts of the brutalisation of citizens.
Protesters want Awkuzu SARS turned to museum
Amidst continued protests over SARS and Police reforms in Nigeria, some youths in Anambra State have demanded that the building which housed the headquarters of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS in Anambra State located at Awkauzu should be turned into a national museum.
A public commentator, Chima Christian who made the call in Awka yesterday said Awkuzu SARS is arguably the headquarters of police brutality and extra-judicial killings in Nigeria.
He said the building that housed Awkuzu SARS should not remain a police station again but should be turned around as a memorial in honour of the hundreds, if not thousands of innocent souls that were “wasted.”