#EndSARS: Stakeholders seek use of non-lethal weapons, designated areas for protests
NEWSMAN, Abuja – Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingiyadi and other stakeholders have stressed the need for the acquisition of crowd control equipment and non-lethal weapons for management of civil protests and demonstrations.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Lagos State government stakeholders’ engagement on internal security and conflict resolution across the country held at the state’s secretariat, they called for the restructuring of the police force to reflect true federalism.
They also advocated for the use of designated special areas as protest arena for citizens to express dissent while not impeding the rights of others.
The Lagos stakeholders further tasked Aregbesola and Dingyadi to facilitate special status for Lagos by the Federal Government.
A communiqué by stakeholders hosted by the governor to meet the Federal Government delegation as part of an engagement on conflict resolution programme also recommended the creation of jobs to meet the needs of youths.
Addressing the stakeholders earlier, Aregbesola eulogised the city of Lagos as the destiny of the African race where he cut his teeth as a politician. He said although the country faced security challenges, “things had not degenerated to the Hobbesian state of nature where life was brutish, poor and nasty.”
He expressed shock over the burning of the palace of the Oba of Lagos and appealed for the preservation of the heritage of the Nigerian people.
In his remarks, Police Affairs Minister, Dingyadi commiserated with Governor Sanwo-olu over the loss of lives and properties due to the violence which trailed the #EndSARS protests, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari recently addressed some of their demands by approving salary increase for police officers, PUNCH reported.
The stakeholders, including traditional rulers, led by the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, human rights lawyer Femi Falana, chairman, Lagos chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Comrade Lekan Oba, and leading politicians like Dr. Yomi Finnih, urged the government to step up its intelligence effort to pre-empt crises.
Other resolutions in the communiqué include: the need to expose youths to counseling and knowledge of God for proper guidance; more engagement of youths in policy formulation for government; reintroduction of value-driven programmes (i.e. Boys Scout, Girls Guild) in schools to engage youths; and adequate training of wards by their parents.