Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has said those taking advantage of the protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to vandalise public properties will be brought to book.
Gov Abiodun made this known in his message to the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, on Sunday.
The Governor, who shared photos of vehicles vandalised by the protesters on his social media handles, told the Police Commissioner that “no peaceful protester should be harmed or arrested.”
However, he stated categorically that, “but in a situation where there is any form of unlawful protest leading to the vandalization of public properties, perpetrators of such dastardly act will be brought to book.”
About 23 of the protesters were said to have been arrested by the police.
In his words, Abiodun told the Ogun CP that the safety of all individuals and organisations involved in peaceful protests be ensured.
Abiodun said he was aware of the fact that some unscrupulous elements took advantage of the #EndSARS protest to vandalise State property, police stations and vehicles.
“I am equally aware of the growing violence that has emerged from this situation, especially as State property and Police stations, vehicles and personnel have been attacked by unscrupulous elements who have taken advantage of the unfortunate situation.
Nonetheless, the Governor told the CP that, “As provoking as this admittedly is, the State Command of the Nigeria Police under your watch should under no circumstance, resort to lethal control that will endanger the life of any citizen.”
“It is essentially the civic right of all citizens to make known their grievances through peaceful protests and demonstrations that will foment no danger to the State and other persons.
“When these individuals then exercise their rights, there should be no fear or arrest of harm from the Nigeria Police,” it was said.
“In this line, this is to make it clear that all officers of the Nigeria Police, Ogun State be directed not to harm or arrest any citizen involved in the peaceful protests gaining traction over the Country.
“Meanwhile, all persons already arrested should have undeterred access to legal representation that will ensure a fair review of their individual circumstances, as this State Government will not condone infringement on the rights of any citizen,” the statement added.