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Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has raised concerns over violent escalations witnessed across the country in the ongoing #EndSARS protests by youths and therefore called on Nigerian youths to cease fire.
Bello who made the call in a broadcast to Nigerian youths on the ongoing protests for reforms in the Police Force, said Nigerian youths have already won the war but should not allow themselves to lose the battle ultimately.
The governor said he was concerned over the manner the protests which began on a peaceful note were now been infiltrated by criminal elements who were engaging in destructions of public facilities.
He said the Nigerian youths have been able to made their voices heard loudly through the protests which had already prompted President Buhari to disband the SARS and equally promised far reaching reforms in the Police Force.
According to him, it was time protesting youths across the country cease actions and explore other means of making their views known to authorities without necessarily causing security breaches.
“I, and many people of goodwill who have stood with this cause are thus understandably pained by the needless and violent escalation we witnessed in several places yesterday.
“We are now concerned that what has been a generally peaceful citizens’ protest is now threatening to dissolve into mindless attacks on government facilities and running battles with the Police.
“Greatest and Ever Gallant Nigerian Youths, from what we saw yesterday, the ranks of genuine protesters have been infiltrated by criminal elements armed with dangerous weapons. Not only that but they are acting in pursuit of nefarious intents which have no nexus with your noble objectives.
“I hold the opinion that you have won a battle, and I must now urge you not to lose the war. Protesters have a tangible and moral victory in the bag, and it is wisdom to safeguard it.
“It is now time to step back and explore other forms of dissent which will not provide crowd cover for persons and agenda which you obviously do not endorse. The nation’s Leadership must also be accorded some time and breathing space to push through on promises of change”, he said.
The Governor also called for highest levels of professionalism and patience on security officers at this period.
“In the absence of clear and present threat to lives, there is almost no circumstance under which it is right to engage protesting citizens with extreme prejudice. It is neither morally justifiable nor an acceptable function of the policing duty.
“To all and sundry, I urge that the events of yesterday must not be allowed to continue. It is time to let good sense and dialogue prevail all around”, he said.
The Governor therefore expressed the confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari would keep to his promise of reforming the Police Force, hence, the youths should trust him and stop further violent protests.
“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari also acceded to your requests and through the Inspector-General of Police totally disbanded the unit on Sunday, 11th October, 2020.
“Amongst other undertakings, Mr. President promised to set up a Forum for regular interface between the Public and the Police. In addition, he agreed to an inquiry into abuses against citizens by the disbanded unit, with a view to ensuring redress.
“Mr. President further made it clear in a personal broadcast yesterday, Monday the 12th, that the demobilisation of SARS was only the first step in a broader spectrum of reforms designed to address wide-ranging questions of discipline and performance by the police and other law enforcement agencies.
“Dear Nigerian Youth, Mr President is someone I trust and believe in, please join me in trusting him as we are confident that he will push through the reform”, the governor said.