Finally, more governors on Tuesday gave their backing to the #EndSARS protests, saying it is the youths’ right to demand an end to police brutality.
Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi) said it was a good time to reform the police.
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) will be briefed by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu on the protests on Wednesday.
Addressing the youths who converged on Alausa before he travelled to see the President, Sanwo-Olu said the protest was an opportunity “to move forward”.
The governor said the six protesters arrested on Monday had been released, and that there was a plan to compensate families of victims of SARS’ brutality, for which N500million trust has been set up.
After meeting with the IGP in Abuja, the governor said in a statement posted on his social media accounts: “I come back from Abuja with news that I believe will lead to concrete steps to #EndPoliceBrutality.
“I met with the IGP. Starting from this week, a panel will be set up comprising of citizens to look at all cases of abuse by the police around the country…”
Wike said no state had suffered more in the hands of SARS than Rivers.
“I am the only governor that has come out to start end SARS protest. No other state. We have lost so many people in this state to SARS. No state supported us. SARS has killed our people a lot.
“The same SARS has killed in another state and they want me to protest; I will not. Rivers blood is important to me. Rivers State cannot play a second fiddle role.
“Look at the lecturer in Polytechnic Bori. SARS killed him. Nobody came to protest. I am not interested. SARS can never be my friend.”
Uzodimma told the youths that he was with them in their demand for far-reaching police reforms.
In a statement by his spokesman Oguwike Nwachuku, the governor urged the youths not to allow anybody, or any political interest, to hijack the protest.
He added: “Our police officers must be trained to be able to match their counterparts all over the world and we are going to do that.”
The governor, in a statement by his spokesman Taiwo Adisa, lamented the extent of destruction at the palace of the Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, which was attacked by protesters on Sunday.
He approved an immediate release of N100 million to the Soun of Ogbomoso for the renovation of the palace where vehicles were also damaged.
He made a commitment to families of victims of police brutality and gave N1 million each to the families of those who died in the course of the protests.
“Let me also say that this is a wake-up call for us. As leaders, we must ensure that we quickly look at things to do to make most of our youths engaged, otherwise, this will definitely continue,” he said.
Bello urged protesters to let common sense prevail now that their agitation has yielded the desired outcome.
He said he did not hesitate to lend his support for a “total overhaul” of the police.
He said: “I was very proud to speak up last week in support of your protests to end police brutality in our country. No doubt the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad had caused so much pain to so many Nigerians.
“It had allowed its image to become so battered by the crudeness of a percentage few in its ranks that urgent and total overhaul was needed.
“Your agitation was, therefore, justifiable and I did not hesitate to identify with you.”
He said the President should be allowed to carry out the promised reforms.
The Oyo State Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan, joined the protesters at the Secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan.
He held up a placard with the inscription: “I was a victim of Police brutality twice. Rauf Olaniyan. #EndPoliceBrutalityNow, #ReformNigerianPoliceNow.”
Issues bordering on the SARS and the suspended electricity tariffs hike are on the agenda for discussion by the governors today.
They would be briefed by three ministers – Babatunde Fashola (Works and Housing); Isa Ali Pantami (Communications and Digital Economy) and Saadatu Umar Farouq (Humanitarian Resources and Disaster Management).
A statement by NGF spokesman Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo said the governors would, at the forum’s 19th teleconference meeting, scheduled for 2pm, entertain briefing from the IGP “who will explain the security situation in the country to the governors, particularly regarding the FSARS protests.”
Bello-Barkindo said the meeting would also be briefed by the technical committee on electricity tariffs.