Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has narrated his ordeal in the hands of some operatives of a police team during his 2014 governorship campaign in the state.
The governor said he was allegedly brutalised and teargased by the police team, an experience he said traumatised him.
He accused the then Commander of Police Mobile Force in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Gabriel Selenkere, in the alleged manhandling when members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) embarked on the symbolic sweeping of roads that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members passed through during their rally. The alleged police action led to the death of an APC chieftain, Taiwo Akinsola.
Fayemi recounted his ordeal yesterday in Ado-Ekiti during an interactive session with stakeholders on the recent #EndSARS protest that caused mayhem across the country.
“I am a victim of police brutality myself. You would all recall what happened to me during my election of 2014. But some policemen had also rendered good services to me. So, not all of them are bad,” Fayemi said.
Describing the teeming youths as the engine room of the nation’s development economy, the governor said there was need for government at all levels to partner the youth for sustainable peace and development.
“The EndSARS protest was a noble course. It was supported here in Ekiti, not because of those involved but for the reason behind the action which we believe would help the police to do their job better.
“The youth protest in Ekiti was well intentioned and peaceful. The right to peaceful protest is an inalienable right. For the first time, we have a panel of enquiry at every level of government to tackle our issues. We must not resort to violence as a solution to our agitations. We must all speak in unison against violence as we did in unison against police brutality.
“Our youths are angry because as they were coming out of closure of schools over Coronavirus pandemic. They entered into ASUU strike; then, there is hunger in the land and the harsh economic situation in our country.
“The government has done many intervention programmes, proscribed SARS and introduced Youth Investment Fund and many others as a response to the youth agitations.
“I commiserate with the families of those who paid the supreme price. We identify with them. The panel that we set up will look into the reasons behind the protest and how best to address the issues raised, because the EndSARS protest had placed a moral burden on all of us that we must be vigilant. “Our police must be motivated to do well. Policemen must be well remunerated. There must be good motivation for the police to be able to discharge their duties effectively,” he said.
Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Adeniyi Adebayo assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari would listen and implement all the demands the youths made during the EndSARS protest.