The candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for Senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, on Tuesday, canvassed comprehensive reforms of the Nigeria Police as one of the strategies to end the brutality of the youths by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Abiru, who is the immediate past Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Polaris Bank Limited, also rejected arbitrary arrest of youths carrying laptops or holding android phones, noting that, “it is a practice that must not have a place in our policing or criminal investigation system.”
The candidate, while speaking at a meeting with stakeholders in Ijede Local Council Development Area (LCDA) on Tuesday, promised to pursue comprehensive police reforms, condemning the attack on a young citizen in Ughelli, Delta State on October 3 and the extra-judicial activities of some SARS operatives across the federation.
Also, at the meeting are the Chairman of APC Senatorial Election Campaign Council, Chief Kaoli Olusanya; husband of Ogun State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Bode Oyedele; a federal lawmaker representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency II, Hon. Jimi Benson, and Majority Leader of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Sanai Agunbiade among others.
Speaking at the meeting yesterday, the APC candidate expressed grave concern on the operatives of the SARS, an arm of the Nigeria Police, and cases of recent and previous instances of brutality and extra-judicial killings.
Abiru observed that the most recent incident involved “a young Nigerian in Ughelli, Delta State on October 3. This incident reportedly typifies the extra-judicial activities of some SARS operatives across the federation.”
While he described the decision of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to ban all the tactical squads of the force, Abiru noted that the ban was “not sufficient to guarantee or restore the confidence of our youths, and indeed the entire countrymen, in the police.”
Among others, the tactical squads, which were banned on Monday, comprise SARS, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Anti-Cultism Squad, among others.
However, Abiru acknowledged that the ban of the tactical squads “is a required step that should be taken and I am happy that this first step has been taken.”
Beyond IGP’s decision, Abiru said the time “to end all extra-judicial activities by every one of our security organisations is now,” saying he was committed “to this agenda as a citizen that places a high premium on every life, mainly our youths on whose shoulders rest the future of our fatherland.”
If and when emerged winner in the October 31 contest, Abiru promised that he “will deploy the instruments of lawmaking and legislation to purse comprehensive reforms of our policing system with the focus on changing the mindset of our security operatives.”
The APC candidate, equally, disclosed that when elected, he “will pursue legislation that will make every security officer discharge their duties within the ambit of laws and make them accountable in every public engagement.
“In my resolve to ensure the security of our youths irrespective of their beliefs, ethnic nationalities or political affiliations, I will focus on using legislative instruments to restructure police operations; protect our youths from police brutality and ensure the enforcement of their human rights at all times.”
Before this incident occurred on October 3, Abiru identified the security and wellbeing of the youth as a cornerstone of his legislative agenda, if elected on October 31.
He explained that his decision to make the security and wellbeing of the youths as the cornerstone of his campaign agenda “stems from a belief that, if we must secure the future of Nigeria, our youths must play leading roles across all sectors freely and without fear or trepidation.
The APC candidate, also, added that his resolve “is founded on an indisputable fact that youths constitute a larger component of our populace and we cannot afford to toy with our youths, the future of our dear country.
“We are in an age when the use of information and communication technology (ICT) has become part of business operations and daily life. Our youths cannot be left behind.
“So, harassing any youth because he is carrying a laptop or holding an android phone is unacceptable. It is a practice that must not have a place in our policing or criminal investigation system,” Abiru explained.