By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Government on Friday lent it’s voice to the ongoing nationwide protests against the activities of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), with a charge to the police authority to ensure that it puts a stop to the incessant harassment of Nigerians by some officers of the anti-robbery squad.
The state Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, while addressing protesters, who stormed the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, on the second day of the protest, said, any officer of the squad found to have harassed innocent Nigerians should be arrested and prosecuted.
‘It’s okay to protest but I say clearly that it is wrong for any law enforcement agent to maim or criminalise another Nigerian without reasonable cause. The police or the law enforcement agents must do their job. In doing that job, you cannot trample on the right of the citizens. You cannot say our youths, because of their looks or they are carrying computers, are guilty of a crime. The police’ job is to arrest people and send them for prosecution, if they do something wrong. That tenets must be adhered to,” Hamzat said.
He added: “We are not against police fighting robbery but we are saying do not unjustifiably hurt our children because of their looks. Whoever is responsible should be arrested and prosecuted.”
The Deputy Governor however enjoined the protesters to be law abiding, adding inspite of the bad eggs among the police, their job is important to the safety of the citizenry.
“However people must understand there are processes to everything. If they say they want to continue staying at the government house forever, there is no problem but that process must still take place. We are not in a kangaroo country. We are a country of process.
It’s a mob mentality. Where there is a mob, things would happen. My message is that it is right for every Nigerian to be outraged if a young man or woman legitimately doing his or her job is attacked or maimed for no reason. We can not do that. However while carrying out the protest, we must also be peaceful so that we don’t break the law. This is because in breaking the law or property, we are hurting ourselves more. They should protest orderly and make it clear what they are clamouring for.
You can’t block the road because what if somebody is going to the hospital and the person is dying. We must look at the society at large.
The same thing happened in other jurisdiction like the United States and some people said the police should be banned but does it make sense. The fact is they have a job to do but are they doing the job right? The answer depends on who you listen to. The bad eggs among them should be identified. The job of Police is important so they have a job to do and it.must be done.”