Christopher Oji, Lagos
Stakeholders in security have said that the outcome of the #EndSARS was a win-win situation for the police and civilians. According to them, everyone should move forward in life because there was neither victor nor vanquished.
The stakeholders at the security workshop include the armed forces, police, paramilitary, traffic control agencies, civilians and many others. At the workshop, organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, they agreed that enough was enough as everyone was hurt during the EndSARS protests.
Assistant Secretary, International Women’s Society, Sarwi Rahaman, acknowledged that it was true that 22 policemen were allegedly killed during the EndSARS but also noted that over 300 civilians were allegedly murdered by trigger-happy SARS operatives.
“So when you evaluate the ratio, you can see that the civilians were more hurt,” she said. “I want to advise that you should stop shooting our youths. I am not talking to the police alone, but the soldiers and other armed security agencies. You call the youths hoodlums but they are not. If you don’t know, we have two types of youths: type one and type two. The youths in type one are responsible, intelligent and educated. But these guys are thrown to the streets without jobs and no hope. So they have been hurt by the hash economic policy of the government. Yet the police and the military are harassing them.
“The ones in type two are the ones that politicians armed with guns and after the election, there was no job for them. They are the ones that are burning your stations. Please, the military and police should know that the time of intimidation of our youths is over. They have gone far beyond us. You speak with the guns, but they speak with social media. You should better join Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms to enable you to understand the language and the ways of our youths. As regards the EndSARS protest, we are all victims, so there is no one that will claim that is most hurt. The police should go back to their duty posts and stop mourning.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Zoom lens Security Ltd, Mr Dennis Amachree, wants genuine synergy among security agencies. According to him, there is no way the country would move forward without synergy and sharing of intelligence among the security agencies. “It is a very big challenge,” he said. “When the Department of State Security gets information, it hides it from the police. When you gathered information without sharing it, the information is useless. Security agencies and the government should tap into the advantage of social media where raw intelligence is gathered and utilize it.
“It is a new normal that you cannot do without. There are too many arms in society today. Security agencies should do something about the influx of arms in society. There are too many drugs in the hands of hoodlums. There is no data because the hoodlums are homeless. The police and sister agencies should be thinking of what to do about the challenges and go back to duty, to reclaim the public spaces”.
An Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), who spoke on the condition of anonymity wants the government to provide the police with adequate logistics and enabling equipment to work. “We need water cannon, smoke guns, teargas stung guns, drones and CCTV cameras. We don’t need live bullets but all the things used by our counterpart in other countries. With all these, we will be able to counter rioters without recording any death.”
The event planner, CEO Linklegal, Mr Ademola Abass, said his organization was compiling all the suggestions made and would channel them to the appropriate quarters for action.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu said the police have listened patiently to stakeholders and would like his men to bury the hatchet and move forward in life. Odumosu called on the members of the public to stop attacking the police and their property as the police and their property belong to the public.
“I am here today, by tomorrow, I can be moved to another state and I won’t carry along my office, it remains in Lagos State. If you destroy a police station, you are destroying your property and not the police officers. We have listened to you and our morale is high. We have already gone back to the roads, but we move in convoy. Our IGP has spoken to us and the Lagos State Governor has promised to compensate the families of slain policemen and give scholarships to their children up to university level. He has also promised to rebuild our burnt stations.”