#EndSARS protest: Abiodun hosts stakeholders meeting on security

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…Pleads against posting provocative materials on social media

By Bankole Taiwo Abeokuta

The governor of Ogun state, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has warned those posting inciting and provocative statements and video clips on the social media to refrain from these terrible acts, saying that such actions can fan the embers of disunity and discord in the country.

Governor Abiodun gave the warning on Tuesday, at a stakeholders meeting on #EndSARS Protest, which was held at Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

The meeting had in attendance the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the South West, Adeleye Oyebade, traditional and religious leaders, representatives of Civil Society Organizations Community Development Associations, youths and students leaders.

Abiodun said people posting fake and false news were deliberately doing so to spread social discontent or put the government in bad light, advising them to put their energy to productive endeavours on the social media.

He said, “We are all witnesses to what havoc fake and inciting posts can cause. In this regard, I also advise the public to be circumspect in what they believe or share on the social media, so that we do not end up being unwittingly recruited as purveyors of fake news with its dire consequences for peace and security in the society”.

Governor Abiodun stated that the hosting of the stakeholders meeting in conjunction with the top hierarchy of the police is a welcome development, as it is a practical demonstration of the commitment of the police hierarchy to the fulfillment of its constitutional duties of protecting lives and property.

He commended all the security agencies for their professionalism, restraints and maturity in handling the protest, adding that it was a most challenging period to be a security agent, “yet you all rose to the occasion”.

In the same vein, the governor also commended the youths for their conduct before, during and after the #EndSARS protest.

“You have all demonstrated that this is the State of Omoluabi and you are all thoroughbred Omoluabis. We are proud of you! You have become reference point in the country of young people showing restraint and discipline, even when it was tempting to join the pattern of looting and violence as obtainable in some other parts of the country”.

“You realised that any destruction of our commonwealth or even private properties diminishes us all in the long run. I enjoin you not to allow people from outside the state to destroy what belongs to us all or inflict harm on our state”.

The governor noted that the relative peace achieved in Ogun State in the wake of #EndSARS protest has been largely achieved through divine benevolence and effective engagement of the stakeholders and “local policing” by the youths and traditional rulers, which validates the call for police officers that are sourced from and live within their communities.

He said: “It is also important to note that while we cannot absolve in totality the police from allegations against them, we cannot also use the few bad eggs to make general and hasty statements about the entire police system. We need to continue to encourage, motivate and support the police to be more effective, professional and trusted partners to achieve peace and security”.

“No doubt, there are many good men and officers of repute in the police force. Even during the subsequent violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest, we had stories of police stations that were not tampered with because of the respect and love the people of those areas have for their police officers in such stations. There are also stories of heroic efforts of some police officers. I am delighted to note that Ogun State Police command has continued to make us proud”.

“Although, we still have report of some people planning to cause disturbances, there are indications that these are not people of Ogun State but trying to whip up sentiments that will resonate with some uninformed youths in the State so as to enlist them. I advise in their own interest that Ogun State will not be conducive to them or anyone with criminal intentions”, the governor said.

Speaking at the stakeholders meeting, DIG Oyebade said work has begun on the reform of the police force been clamoured for by the youths during the#EndSARS protest.

He said, “The reform you (youths) are clamouring is already on the table. The reform is now and the IGP is already doing just that.”

“I happen to be in charge of research and planning, and community policing is under my purview, I’m telling you already, the community policing is going to involve all of you. We want it to be community driven and the youths are the highest number in the community, so we have to bring you into the position to contribute your quota. I’m assuring you that community policing is going to address all issues raised”.

“The way forward is community policing so that we can close gap with members of the public, especially the youths. The way forward is community policing so that we can get the challenges that are affecting your progress in community policing in your areas”.

“The way forward is community policing so that we can get your ideas and use them to plan how we can police you better. The way forward is community policing so that we can collaborate and cooperate with ourselves”.

“No man is an island collectively, two, three good heads are better than one. We want you to understand that we are coming with a new strategy. It’s a new era, it’s a new dawn, it is a new beginning for the Nigerian police you are invited as youths, all the critical stakeholders will be invited to come onboard to work with us so that we can get to the promise land”.

“We are going to work together with our sister security agencies, the Nigerian police is the lead agency when it comes to internal security. We are going to work together in synergy and the strategy is to carry the community along to ensure peace is restored in our society”.

“For now, we should stop all the damages, all the vandalisation of critical infrastructure that government have put in place”.

“Arsonists should not come and destroy what the government is doing. The protesters are different from the criminals. The protesters are different from the arsonists. The government of the day is ready to listen to your requests but we must separate those that are coming to destroy the properties and that is why I’m here to tell you that the strategy the government of Ogun state is using is working. I want to ask the governor and his lieutenants to please continue with this engagement”.