By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, has narrated that he was once a victim of harassment by suspected operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Hamzat shared his experience while addressing #EndSARS protesters at the Lagos State House of Assembly on Friday.
This open confession is coming after protesters had kept vigil at the Assembly’s entrance on Thursday, insisting the FSARS should be disbanded.
While appealing to the protesters to be orderly, the deputy governor said they had the right to be “upset” with alleged extortion and brutality by suspected FSARS operatives.
He said, “Every decent Nigerian will be upset.
“This happened to me four years ago, I was going to Abule Odofin they were not in uniform they have guns and they just double-crossed us, of course, I was scared because if they were police wearing uniform I won’t be scared and they harassed us.”
In a series of tweets after addressing the protesters, Hamzat added, “Today, I addressed those protesting against the brutality of some men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit at Alausa Ikeja.
The Governor’s position is clear. LASG would not condone brutality and violation of citizens’ rights by security operatives.
“Security operatives cannot trample on the rights of law-abiding citizens because they are carrying laptops or iPhones. It is wrong for any officer to expressly pronounce someone, irrespective of age, guilty because they have locs or ride luxury vehicles.
As a Government, we support evidence-based investigations and actions driven by intelligence. The procedure of arrest and prosecution must be followed through. We are equally aggrieved like every other law-abiding Nigerian.
“If a young man or woman who is legitimately doing his or her job is attacked or maimed by police officers for no reason, we will never support that. We condemn police brutality in whatever guise and we will continue to engage their leadership for change.
“We fully understand the reasons for your anger and outrage but this demonstration must also be carried out in line with the law. If we employ violence or destruction to drive home our grievances, we will also be hurting ourselves.
“The protest must be orderly, so that those concerned will get the salient point of your message.
“You can’t block the road, disrupt free flow of traffic and prevent other people from embarking on their lawful duties, especially the emergency responders.
“As citizens, it is within your rights to express your grievances but let us exercise caution and eschew violence.
“The authorities have heard your voice and I hope we all leave the roads with the understanding that drastic changes will be effected.”