Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged the state’s Police Command not to be demoralised by the recent incidents that stemmed from the hijack of the #EndSARS protests in the state but draw lessons from them and rebuild trust with members of the public.
Obaseki, who spoke with top police officers in the state, assured that his administration will continue to support the security operatives in the discharge of their duties of protecting the lives and property of citizens.
The governor also paid a solidarity visit to the Edo State Police Command to boost the officers’ morale.
According to the governor, “The state government will proceed immediately to rebuild all the destroyed buildings; we have already ordered for patrol vehicles and we hope the delivery will be in the next few weeks. They will be delivered to you.
“We will be responsible for the hospital bills of every police man or woman who has been hurt as a result of the incident of the last few weeks. Above all, we will make sure we give the necessary assistance which we can, within the limits of resources available to us.
“The legitimate #EndSARS protesters which I asked you to give protection are not the ones who attacked the police stations, the Oko prison and the Sapele Road prison. They were not the ones that attacked police and their property.”
Obaseki continued; “The people who did that were criminals and they should be treated as such. I am here today to assure you of our support; criminals cannot take over our state, under whatever guise. They should not intimidate you; they should not allow your morale to be low.
“I want to assure you that the Edo State government will work with you very diligently to re-arrest every inmate that escaped from the correctional facility.”
Addressing the senior police officers, the governor noted: “Key members of my team and I have called you here today to thank you for your support and the work of policing the state. We thank you for the sacrifices and assure you of our support. We call on you not to be depressed, downcast as you have a duty to God and Nigerians. What happened over the last few weeks are lessons to us as it’s not business as usual but rather a charge to work together to build trust.
“The underlining word should be trust. The young men and women should trust that you will be there for them and that you will protect them even when some of them are criminals. They will be treated fairly according to the policing code which doesn’t tolerate most of the atrocities that some of your men have committed.
“I assure you that the government of Edo State supports the police. We appreciate those of you working hard and putting your life on the line of service. We can’t pay you enough but we know we should pay you your dues, not in cash but in love, respect and support.
“I am here to meet with you and assure you that Nigerians still believe in you as no institution is perfect as we need to change and reform many things,” he added.
Earlier, the state police Commissioner, Johnson Kokumo, noted that during the #EndSARS protests, 11 police men and women were injured, seven police stations burnt, 16 police patrol vehicles burnt, five police officers’ personal vehicles burnt and 31 exhibit vehicles burnt and destroyed.
Kokumo said that seven AK-47 rifles were recovered, adding that a total of 126 suspects have so far been arrested from the EndSARs protests.