As the nation marks one year anniversary of the #Endsars protest, some stakeholders in Lagos have called for the training and re-training of security agents in preventing similar protests from escalating in future.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in 2020 a “march” with the hashtag #EndSARS calling for an end to police brutality by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was hijacked by hoodlums.
The aftermath resulted in loss of lives and destruction of property across the country.
Activities by angry protesters, as well as hoodlums who “cashed in” on the protest to unleash mayhem in Lagos and other parts of the country, included acts of arson on police stations, court houses, television stations, as well as destruction of roads and other public infrastructure.
To mark the one year anniversary of the #Endsars protests, some Non-Governmental Organisations have called for accountability on the part of security agents.
While urging government to ensure that there is a re-training of security agents, they also called for the punishing of all those found guilty of contravening extant criminal laws during the #Endsars protest.
Mr Anthony Makolo, Director of the Makolo Anthony Empowerment Foundation, (MAEF), called for the training of police officers, as well as other security agents in the dispensation of their duties.
He said that there was also a dire need to train the security agents in devising more modern means of executing their operations, especially in the areas of intelligence gathering.
“There must be a serious training of the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force on the latest version of technological gathering of information, including analysis, investigation, arrest and prosecution of suspects.
“The authorities must now go beyond lip service in ensuring that there is a real reform within the Nigeria Police Force; these reforms must translate into holding each police officer accountable for torture or ill treatment meted on suspects,” he said
Makolo also noted that the #EndSARS movement simply demonstrated that whatever ethno-religious tension plaguing the nation could be effectively curtailed by unity.
According to him, since the protest saw all categories of people coming together to plead a common cause, it also means that Nigerians can achieve a lot in unism.
“Power belongs to the people, so, we can achieve a lot positively to better our nation if we unite.
“The authorities at all levels, must also be prompt in responding to the challenges of the people,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Mrs Ebere Obiora, Ogun State Coordinator of the African Women Lawyers Association of Nigeria (AWLAN), underscored the need for government to be more responsive to the plight of its citizens.
She described the #EndSARS protest as a peaceful movement by Nigerian youths, against the indiscriminate abuse of human rights, extortion and extra-judicial killings, particularly but not limited to the SARS unit, of the Nigerian Police.
According to her, further into the protest, other issues of inequitable distribution of social goods became the focus of the protest.
“The youths had all rights and reasons to request for better leadership, and these are reasons that “ring true” to all ages in Nigeria, and through all ages since independence.
“The protest was not founded on new issues, so, the only way to stop future protests is to solve the issues being complained about,” she said
Obiora consequently urged government to continually be responsive to the needs of its citizens, adding that where this is ensured, there would be no need for the youths to “take to the streets”.
On his part, the Country Director for the Advocacy for Justice and Accountability (AJA), Mr Ogedi Ogu, urged government to ensure that those behind destruction in the #EndSARS protest were held accountable for their actions.
“To avoid such occurrences in the future, the Nigerian State must hold people accountable for their actions and inactions.
“The overzealous or trigger happy security agents must be held accountable for every action
“If the various actors whose actions and/or inactions triggered the #EndSARS are made to undergo the consequences of their actions, the intending reckless and unruly ones would have self-restraint and begin to learn how to fit into a civilian space,” he said
Ogu noted that the era of having security agencies who kill, maim and extort citizens whom they are meant to protect must be nipped in the bud, adding that “business as usual” must also be discouraged. (NAN)
ARMY’S DEDICATION HAS RAISED CITIZENS’ CONFIDENCE’ — SANWO-OLU TELLS CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF
•COAS in Lagos to launch new security operations
•Governor seeks military cooperation on traffic, environmental enforcements
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has hailed the Nigerian Army for committing to the rules of engagement and professionalism in its peace mission across the country.
The Governor said the Army had continued to live up to the expectations of their roles as provided by the constitution, stressing that the sacrifice paid by soldiers to keep the territorial integrity and peace of the country would not go unappreciated.
Sanwo-Olu spoke when he received the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, at Lagos House in Marina, on Monday, in a courtesy visit.
Lagbaja was in Lagos for the clearance of Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) at the 9 Brigade Military Cantonment, Ikeja.
The Army, the Governor said, has earned the citizens’ confidence and respect as a member of the nation’s armed forces, given its sense of commitment, dedication and patriotism.
Sanwo-Olu said: “We are grateful to the Army and its men for their dedication to the country at this difficult time in different parts of the country. You have continued to uphold the constitution, maintain high integrity and stick to the best rules of engagement to protect the sovereignty of our country.
The Army is well respected by the citizens, given the commitment, dedication and sense of patriotism in discharging its statutory roles.
“The 2002 Ikeja bomb explosion was a trying moment for the Army, given the magnitude of the damage. But the event never weakened the resolve of the military. The Army has continued to live up to their responsibilities provided by the constitution and the sacrifice paid by soldiers to keep the territorial integrity and peace of our country would not go unappreciated. Lagos State Government is committed to ensuring that the Army gets all the necessary support for your security operations.”
The Governor assured the Army boss that the State Government would rebuild a military primary school in Orile demolished for the construction of Lagos-Badagry Expressway. He sought for the cooperation of the military personnel in restoring sanity back to the Lagos-Badagry corridor, where the State Government has been clearing illegal shanties built along the expressway.
Sanwo-Olu also appealed for cooperation among military personnel in the ongoing enforcement across Lagos, including Okada ban enforcement. He noted that the ongoing enforcements were geared towards bringing sanity back to the State and preserving public assets.
The Governor said: “We have collective responsibility to keep Lagos safe for commercial activities. It is important to acknowledge the complementary effort of the 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in supporting our security architecture in Lagos, with OP Mesa operatives working with the police to ensure our safety.
That synergy among all security agencies is all that is required to maintain security.”
Lagbaja used the occasion to express his appreciation for the “tremendous support” the people and State Government accorded to the Army units and formations.
The Army boss acknowledged the infrastructure renewal programme of the Lagos Government, stressing that improved infrastructure would go a long way in helping the military respond rapidly to security situations requiring quick interventions.
He said military personnel will be major beneficiaries of the Lagos’ Blue and Red Line rail projects, as the trains would aid personnel’s commuting.
Lagbaja said his visit was to inform the Governor about the Army’s activities to be conducted in Lagos, noting that the exercises were designed to further entrench the peace and stability we have enjoyed in Lagos.
He said: “The Nigerian Army has put together a ceremony to remove unexploded ordnances at the site of the 2002 Bomb Explosion in Ikeja cantonment. The objective is to make the area safe and securely remove unexploded ordnances to a safe location in Ajilete area of Ogun State.
“We are ushering in the last three months of the year where citizens travel across the country for festivities. We need to provide safe and secure passage for the people travelling. We have put together three security exercises to prevent any form of breaches and these will be flagged off on Tuesday in Lagos.”
NAF Airstrike Kills 8 Terrorists In Borno
Airstrike undertaken by the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai has killed eight terrorists in Borno State, North-East Nigeria.
The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Cdre Edward Gabkwet, said the aircraft was on armed reconnaissance mission on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 when it took out a guntruck with about eight terrorists at Baranga village in Marte local government area of the State.
He said the strike was carried out when two armed terrorists on a motorcycle along an active track were sighted and trailed to the location.
He said the terrorists after sighting the aircraft, took cover under a thick vegetation.
“Upon engaging the vegetation cover, a gun truck with eight terrorists suddenly appeared, speeding off to evade the attack.
“Subsequently, the gun truck was engaged and destroyed, thus eliminating the terrorists,” he said.
The statement reiterated that remnants of terrorists in the North-East have continued to seek the covers of thick forests and vegetation to evade being detected by the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and other security agencies.
He said the strike was yet again a clear indication of the commitment of the AFN towards ensuring terrorists find it difficult to randomly roam about freely attacking law-abiding Nigerians.
Police kill 3 IPOB Members, Recover Arms In Enugu
The operatives of the Enugu State Police Command have neutralised three members of the Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) in their hideouts in Ezioha Mgbowo, Awgu Local Government Area of the state.
The police officers also recovered three pump-action guns, 10 machetes, and other incriminating exhibits.
The command’s spokesperson, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, who made the disclosure via a statement, said the gunmen were killed at about 2:15 a.m. on Monday, September 18, 2023.
Ndukwe stated: “A joint security team, comprising police operatives of the Enugu State Command, NPF Special Forces, and Troops of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army Enugu, acting on credible intelligence, busted the criminal hideout of IPOB/ESN subversive criminal elements.
“The criminal elements were already perfecting plans to enforce the illegal sit-at-home order in the state.
“Three of the hoodlums, who opened fire on the joint team upon sighting them, were neutralised, while several others escaped with severe degrees of gunshot wounds in the ensuing gunfight.
“There has been an intense manhunt for those on the run.”
He quoted the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Kanayo Uzuegbu, as commending the joint team, assuring the security and safety of citizens and urging them to go about their lawful businesses in the state.
The commissioner reiterated the commitment of the police and other security forces to sustain the onslaught against unrepentant violent criminals operating under any guise, urging the people of Enugu State to report individuals sighted with gunshot wounds to the nearest police station.
“The good people of Enugu State should remain law-abiding and continue to provide the police with actionable security information and intelligence,” Uzuegbu said.
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