Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Monday, pledged that the state will compensate families of Policemen who lost their lives during the #EndSARS protests, which were hijacked by hoodlums recently.
The governor, who stated this while speaking at the Oyo State Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, Eleyele, Ibadan, said that the families will be compensated from the N500 million fund already set aside to compensate victims of police brutality and injustice.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor equally commiserated with officers and men of the Police Command over the loss of their officers as well as destruction of a number of structures and equipment.
He stated that the state government will not leave the Police to walk alone, adding that the government will continue to work together with the force to make Oyo State safe and secure for residents.
He equally urged the Police to put the experience of the last few weeks behind them and join hands with the government to rebuild the nation and create a better society.
He maintained that the cooperation of the Police is needed to bring to book arsonists, anarchists and killers, stating that the government and the people of Oyo State are solidly behind the Police and that they would work together to make the state better.
The meeting had in attendance the Garrison Commander of the 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Adesoji Ogunsugba and the DIG Research and Planning, Force Headquarters, Leye Oyebade and other top police officers of the Command.
The governor said: “I announced that the government has set up an initial N500m Victim Compensation Fund. I made the announcement last week and I want to say that the families of the policemen in Oyo State who were extrajudicially killed will be part of those to be compensated in the fund. And I also want to say that may the souls of the departed colleagues rest in peace.
“The Police are a very important part of our community. My prayer is that things will get better with our country, state and Nigerian Police Force. Things will get better with Oyo State Police Command and it will get better with us as individuals. I can stand before you to say that not every member of the Police is bad. So, the government and the people of Oyo State are with you.
“If we work together to create a better society, you also are coming to enjoy that better society. We must all join hands to make our society better. It is time to put everything that has happened behind us and work towards nation-building. That I said I support the protest does not mean I am against you. I am for the protection of everyone’s right including the right of the officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force.
“So, we need your cooperation to ensure that arsonists, anarchists are brought to book. And I am here to work with you to make the burden you are carrying very light.”
The governor added that the state government would undertake the rebuilding of all burnt down and destroyed stations as well as take care of all logistics as contained in a document presented to him to by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwachukwu Enwowu, stating that all requests by the Police to make them comfortable in their places of work would be granted by the state.
Earlier, the Commissioner of Police said: “As a matter of fact, October has come and gone. It was a bad month. It was a black month. It was a very sorrowful month, not just for Oyo State but for the entire federation. Granted that we have suffered a lot of losses in terms of buildings, burning of police stations, loss of men, vehicles and personal belongings, that is a price one has to pay by way of what we call professional hazards.
“But that does not mean life will not continue. We have to put all that behind us and forge ahead and be sure that today, being the first working day in the month of November, that we will do our best to be sure that Oyo State will continue to be a state with one of the lowest records of crime.”
He urged Police officers to go back to their duty posts and give their best to the communities, saying: “I further want to urge each and every one of our officers here that when you leave here, you should go back in full confidence that you will give your best to the communities and your areas of responsibility.
“You should not be intimidated and you cannot abdicate your responsibility, which is that Police, as a lead security agency, cannot abandon your duty post and expect those who are not trained to do that job to come and do it for you.”
He stated that while other security services were there to support the Police as stated by the General Officer Commanding 2nd mechanized Division last week, Policemen cannot afford to shy away from their responsibilities.
The Commissioner of Police added that intimidation or harassment of the members of the public should be a thing of the past, noting that the Police would not want to hear that the fundamental human rights of the public are violated in any way whatsoever.
He added that the Police should key into one of the four pillars of the administration of Governor Makinde, which borders on security as according to him, the governor has supported the Command immensely.
He said: “He (Governor Makinde) has provided us with vehicles, telecommunications, a lot of logistics including welfare allowances to boost the morale of the officers,” Enwowu said.
Also speaking, the Garrision Commander 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Ogunsugba said: “You have received enough tonic to come out of your shell and do the job together. The job belongs to us and we have nobody to call apart from us. We will not sell this country or allow this country to be taken over by miscreants.
“So, please I don’t want us to start quoting one law that is outdated. The current law now is the IGP’s pronouncement, which everybody can hear clear and loud. You have been empowered to do your work.
“The other aspect is my General Officer Commander’s comment when he came here. He said you are not alone. We are with you day and night. And for those of you who are in the town, you would have been seeing us in some of your deployments. We have been patrolling together. And we have been saying that an injury to a policeman is an injury to a military man. That shows you are not alone. So, what I will tell you is to come out. It is time. Nigeria belongs to us. Oyo State belongs to all of us. We must come out to do the job.”
Similarly, Oyebade appreciated the governor for everything he has been doing.
He assured that there will be a new beginning with the Police, stating that having spoken with the rank and file of the force, there will be a new era and a new beginning in the area of policing in the state.
“I have already gotten feedback from the commissioner of police to the least constable here, and I know that it is going to be a new beginning, a new era and a new dawn in the area of policing in this state. Yes, we have challenges, there is no system that does not have a challenge but we are going to surmount those challenges. Looking at the way the government is going to encourage and has been encouraging us with our facilities, I know when I left Oyo State and I know what has been put in place after I left.”