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I was victim of police brutality, says Fayemi

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Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has pledged to join other well-meaning Nigerians to actualise demands of EndSARS protesters, noting that he was a victim of police brutality.

Fayemi, who was defeated in the June 21, 2014 gubernatorial election by his predecessor, Ayodele Fayose, said prior to the contest, he was tear-gassed by police operatives at Mugbagba area of Ado Ekiti.

Speaking yesterday in the capital during an interactive session with stakeholders, the governor pointed out police brutality was an issue that affects all facets of the polity.

Describing youths as engine room of the nation’s economy, Fayemi stressed the need for the three tiers of government to partner with them for sustainable peace and development.

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His words: “I am a victim of police brutality. You could 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.

“The #EndSARS protest was a noble cause. 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. Rights to peaceful protest are inalienable. For the first time, we have panels of inquiry at every level of government to tackle our issues.

“We must not resort to violence as solution to our agitations. We must all speak in unison against violence, as we did against police brutality.”

He continued: “Our youths are angry because as they were coming out of closure of schools over the coronavirus pandemic, they entered into ASUU strike, then there is hunger in the land besides the harsh economic situation in our country.

“Government has done many intervention programmes and proscribed SARS in addition to introducing youth investment fund and many others as response to the agitations.

“I commiserate with families of those who paid the supreme price. We identify with them. The panels that we set up will look into the reasons behind the protest and how best to address the issues raised, because #EndSARS protest had placed a moral burden on all of us.

“Our police must be motivated to do well. Policemen must be well remunerated. There must be good motivation for the force to discharge its duties effectively.”

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Also speaking, Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari would address demands of the protesters.

“The purpose why we are here today (yesterday) is that, all the ministers working under President Buhari got a presidential order to hold interactions with the people. Mr. President listens to people. He wanted to use this interaction to feel the pulse of all Nigerians.

“We appreciate Governor Fayemi for setting us a panel to inquiry on police brutality and other issues that are connected. As your representative at FEC, I will continue to do my best to represent Ekiti well,” he added.

In his remarks, Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Eyitayo Fabunmi, called for total reform of the police for professionalism and civility.

Present at the event were the Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi, Ekiti State House of Assembly Speaker Funminiyi Afuye, Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Bishop Felix Ajakaye, Chief Imam of Ekiti and President League of Alfas, Alhaji Jamiu Kewulere, traditional rulers, youth groups and security organisations.

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