A former governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni, has called on the federal government to look beyond the surface to realise that there was more to the violence that trailed the October #EndSARS protest than met the eye.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at his country home, Ifaki-Ekiti, on Tuesday, Mr Oni said the violence was a testimony of pent-up anger, frustration, and poverty among the people, and not limited to police brutality.
He said the charge of police brutality that signposted the violence, looting and destruction of properties was the trigger hoodlums, who hijacked the protest, needed to unleash terror on the society.
Mr Oni enjoined the government to map out strategies that would engage the youth in particular, in gainful ways.
He explained that employment opportunities for the youth must be expanded and that job placements should be done on merit rather than on religion, ethnicity, political affiliation and other unprofitable criteria.
Mr Oni also enjoined the federal government to act quickly on the reformation of the Nigeria Police Force to make its operatives operate within globally-accepted standards.
The former governor advised that part of the reformation of the police should be a re-examination of poor remunerations, inadequate training and poor working conditions and a need to improve on them.
He stressed that most cases of police brutality reported in the society were consequences of frustration in the operatives and a resultant transfer of aggression.
“If policemen do not get good salaries, they will not give good service; if you have a Police Force, you must cater for its operatives and provide them with modern technological devices before you can demand integrity of them.
“There is also the need to recruit more people into the police to strengthen the Force numerically.
“I see too many angry faces. I see too many frustrated persons. I see too many youths walking on the streets without a hope of a better tomorrow and I am worried,’’ he said.
Mr Oni also condemned the violent protest and the vandalism that followed and argued that government’s properties that were destroyed were put in place for the common good and at huge costs, but were destroyed unjustifiably.
Owners of private properties that were destroyed also did not do anything wrong to be visited with the resultant anguish, he noted.
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