EndSARS: Oyo Governor gives reasons for asking Police to be calm

By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan

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The Governor of Oyo state has cleared the air on his decision of asking the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force in the State to take a back seat in the heat of the violence that trailed the call for the scrapping of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) Unit of the Police.

Governor Seyi Makinde explained that the decision was not to spite the Police but to ensure their safety and security, while commending the officers for the good job being done to ensure that the people of the State sleep with their two eyes closed.

The Governor, while addressing journalists at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, on Wednesday, said he was aware of how the decision had caused some form of friction and breach of trust between himself and the officers of the force.

“I didn’t say it because I do not love the officers and men of the Nigeria Police or because we are not appreciative of the work they are doing. I said it because they were the target of the EndSARS protest and we didn’t want the situation to escalate,”Governor Makinde said.

Speaking on the frosty relationship between the Police and the Amotekun Corps in the State, Makinde said the two bodies were working towards the same goal but might sometimes go about things differently.

He explained that a committee would be set up to iron out the frosty relationship between the two institutions and bring about an alignment of operations, in the interest of the safety and security of the people of the State.

He stated, “Amotekun is not operating in a vacuum, they are a creation of the Law of this state. The Nigerian Police is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is normal that you have inter and intra agency frictions but for us, we will get everybody together and seek alignment towards the same end basically.”

The Governor revealed that some people have adopted the use of lies and fake news to tarnish the image of the Amotekun Corps since it commenced operations in the State, urging journalists to always crosscheck their facts before publishing stories, especially those that can fan the embers of tribal crisis.

Strike a balance
He noted: “Community policing is the way forward and we have to make it work. As always, I know that we do have a trust deficit between the people and the authorities and this makes it easier to think the worst of people in authority. But, we must not cut our nose to spite our face. We must strike a balance so that we don’t turn the people trying to protect us into our enemies.”

Noting that undocumented individuals may contribute to insecurity, Makinde warned village heads and community leaders who give out land in their domains to undocumented foreigners to desist from such practice, saying anyone caught would be sanctioned.

He also gave an hint about his meeting with the heads of the Association of Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycles and tricycles Owners, Repairers and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACCOMMORRAN) to get its members registered, which would go a long way in addressing how some people were hiding under their platforms to commit crimes.

The Governor affirmed that the safety and security of all residents of Oyo State remained a priority, as his administration would work relentlessly to tackle cases of kidnapping and insecurity in the State.

He further explained that the State could not achieve its plans on tackling youth unemployment in the past due to non-budgetary provisions, giving assurance that it would be addressed this year as it has been aptly captured in the 2021 Budget.

Lateefah Ibrahim

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