Politics

#ENDSARS protest: Olawepo-Hashim advocates police reform

The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Front, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has canvassed for an efficient police services run by well-trained men and women, who are motivated and well paid in line with acceptable standard operating procedures towards accountability and the protection of citizens fundamental human rights.

Olawepo-Hashim, who the made the call, while reacting to the ongoing #ENDSARS protest, described the action of Nigerian youths as a noble one, deserving prompt attention. He said though the conduct of the protesters has been civil and peaceful, widespread report of fatalities caused by police violent response to peaceful protests, aside the hauling of scores of peaceful protesters into police cells should be condemned.

His words: “I condemn the excessive use of force to handle what is otherwise a peaceful protest and commend the protesters for breaking a two-anda- half-decade long silence in the face of myriad of injustice in the land. As one who has been a victim of such brutality in the hands of Nigerian security forces as students’ leaders in the 1980’s; I know what these current event means.”

He acknowledged the response of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to disband SARS and to ensure the redeployment of men of the unit to other departments of the police police but insisted that something more comprehensive is urgently needed. According to him, “nothing must be done to apply force in crushing the on-going nationwide peaceful protest.

As a matter of fact, under our laws, it is the obligation of the police to offer protection for peaceful protesters, not persecute and kill them. I urge the police authority to ensure the immediate release of all detained protesters and to investigate and bring to book all those involved in the brutal murder of protesters. “There must be accountability for the murder of these young Nigerians, and no one should attempt to sweep the issue under the carpet as it is the usual practice.

I offer my heart-felt sympathies to the families, colleagues and friends of the deceased protesters.” He called on the National Assembly and all true leaders of the people not to be silent in the face of the on-going nationwide protest. He said: “The snare is broken!

The Lord Himself is taking a way ‘the hearts of stones and replacing them with the hearts of flesh that will be sensitive to humanism, social justice and equity. The youth of Nigeria are taking the lead as they have already done historically in returning the nation to her true identity – lovers of justice, that who we truly are!’” He, however, noted that the important work that law enforcement officers undertake every day to keep citizens safe must be appreciated by all and should recommend all disciplined service men for respect and honour, but this essential and noble duty should not always be at the expense of professionalism. “This occasion must never be another event of police versus the people but police working with the people for better policing,” he said.

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