Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has appealed to youths protesting against the extrajudicial activities of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), to suspend their action for 24 hours.
The Governor made this appeal on Monday while addressing the protesters who blocked Lekki-Epe Expressway, in protest against the SARS tactical unit of the Nigerian Police Force over brutality, illegal arrest, extortion, extra-judicial killings, among others.
According to a statement shared by Jubril Gawat, the special adviser to the governor on media, Sanwo-Olu identified with the EndSARS protestersm noting that their agitations touched the essence of democratic freedom.
He said citizens must never be denied the rights to protest, but urged the protesters not to employ wrong methods to drive home their message by blocking the roads.
The governor also begged Lagosians to take a break from protesting on Tuesday because tempers are at the highest on all sides, and in order to prevent further escalation as he visits the president to present the demands of Lagos youth on the #EndSARS to him.
“I was at the venue of one of the #EndSARS protests today. The safety of everyone involved in peaceful protests across Lagos is important and communicating with the CP, this is what we want to guarantee on all sides. Tomorrow, I will be meeting with HE Pres. @MBuhari in Abuja.
“As a servant of the people, my job is to listen and do everything within my power to act while managing the nature of the problems our people are protesting against. I am proud of our youth and the courage they are displaying in articulating their grievances.
“I identify wholeheartedly with the #EndSARS campaign as it touches the essence of democratic freedom. Citizens must never be denied the right to protest and your voices have been heard.
“A clear pronouncement has been made and Mr President has addressed the nation. All SARS officers involved in the killing of innocent people and engaging in the abuse of human rights will be brought to justice.
“My stand on #EndSARS is unmistakable and I assure you that I identify with this protest because your concerns are legitimate. The protest is in good faith but we have to be peaceful and decorous in expressing ourselves.
“I have received the news of casualties at the Surulere protest as well as other developments we are monitoring. We mourn with the families of those who have lost their loved ones. Please do not allow your protest to be hijacked and used by people with a pre-existing vendetta.
“We must prevent the escalation of issues and I am meeting with the Lagos CP and other security leaders in a few minutes to ensure that live rounds that could lead to further casualties are not used at all as the police look to maintain peace during the protests.
“I want to appeal to the protesters to take a break from protesting tomorrow. Tempers are at a highest on all sides at this time and while we work to prevent escalation, the safety of our residents is paramount. I speak not just as a governor, but as a father, brother and son,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike has banned all forms of #EndSARS protests in Rivers State, warning that violators will be arrested and brought to book.