Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has promised to justice for the victims of brutality and extra-judicial actions committed by officials of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Naija News reports that Governor Sanwo-Olu made this promise in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, on Tuesday, October 13.
The Governor said the Lagos State Government would be setting up a panel of enquiry that will comprise youth leaders appointed by EndSARS protesters, members of the public, Government officials, and security agencies to look into the allegations of human rights abuses leveled against SARS operatives in Lagos.
Governor Sanwo-olu said the objective of the panel was to bring indicted officers to book and get justice for victims of SARS operations, this was even has he set up a Trust Fund to compensate the families of the victims of police brutality in the State.
The Governor said the process of managing and disbursing the funds will be completely supervised by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) appointed by members of the public.
While addressing youths protesting against SARS’ excesses at the State House in Alausa, Sanwo-Olu said he identified with the protesters in their campaign against police brutality. He, however, pleaded with the aggrieved youths not to undermine the legitimacy of their grievances by being violent and destructive.
The protesters at Alausa handed a communique to which detailed their five-point demand to the governor and in response, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the Government would be addressing three of the protesters’ demands that are within the purview of the State and promised to engage the President and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the remaining demands.
Speaking further while addressing the protesers, Governor said he would continue to engage the Federal Government to initiate reforms that will bring about the police force that will protect and respect the rights of the citizens.
“I understand a lot of youths have been battered and maimed by the people who are supposed to protect you. I understand you all are feeling the pain of brutality, which is why you have been taking to streets to express your disappointment. Your voice has been heard loudly and actions have been taken from the highest office in the land to address your grievances. It is time for us to move forward and engage further on your demand.
“There is a five-point demand which you have submitted to us today. You demanded the release of all protesters arrested on Monday. All of them have been released unconditionally. You demanded we set up a meeting that will lead to the process of getting justice and compensation for the victims of SARS brutality. I have instructed the Ministry of Youth and Social Development to set up a panel of enquiry ASAP that will get justice for the victims.
“We request that any citizen who has had a fatal encounter with SARS in Lagos to come forward and bring their cases to the panel. We will get justice for them. I have also set up a trust fund for the compensation of all victims of SARS brutality. For those who have died, we will be reaching out to their families. We request you (the protesters) appoint your representatives into the panel and the Trust Fund for transparency,” the Governor said.
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