*Seeks for structural reform to allow state resource control and police
The Community Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (COMPASS) has condemned the invasion, destruction and wanton looting of public and private assets in the state after hoodlums and other criminal elements hijacked the #EndSARS protest on Tuesday causing mayhem across Lagos State and some other cities in Nigeria.
COMPASS in a press release issued by the President of the community media association, Tayo Aderinola, expressed complete disapproval of attack mostly against media houses and journalists after the fallout of the unfortunate shooting of the #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday.
Aderinola stated that “our nation has been on an emotional rollercoaster in the past few days”.
“We implore the members of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS-related Abuses in Lagos State to do a thorough job in record time, so justice can be done on time and equitably because delay defeats equity. We hope the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, shall ensure a thorough and speedy investigation of the dastardly act so as ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted and made to face the wrath of the law”.
“In as much as we support police reforms, the fact is that the entity Nigeria itself needs structural political reforms but it’s only under a peaceful atmosphere and through dialogue we can achieve any progress”.
As an association, COMPASS condemned the militarization and barbaric act of shooting live ammunition against peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
“The #EndSARS Protest was well intended until it was hijacked by criminal elements who went about town to commit wanton acts of arson, robbery, murder and other criminality. Kings College, Police Stations, Oba Akiolu’s palace, City Hall, local government secretariats and a host of other heritage of Lagos were destroyed and most cases after they were massively looted”.
The association also sympathises with The Nation newspaper, Television Continental (TVC), Lagos Television (LTV) and all journalists who were attacked while doing their job as front line workers.
“Government and the society should please do more to help protect media practitioners, as we are the voice of the voiceless and the eyepiece of both the people and government”.
“This is a serious watershed in our history and it’s really worth having a sober reflection for both the leaders and followers. The June 12 struggle of which some of us were active participants, didn’t witness this kind of massive retrogressive destruction”.
“We need to restart building trust amongst ourselves. We salute the Lagos Police Command for professionally putting things under control despite in the face of provocations and attack by some of our vexed youths which was precipitated by police brutalities mostly carried out by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)”.
“We want to express appreciation to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his quick and timely reaction in handling the situation”.
“However, our government at all levels need to be proactive so as to forestall reoccurrence of social disorderliness witnessed recently. Nigerians are hungry, our government need to engage more with the people, close the gap between them and the people. We at the community media level are the closest to the people and we are doing our best to act as an interface between our respective communities and governance so as to ensure and promote sustainable development at the grassroots”.
“President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech, has promised reforms for the police, we at COMPASS believe in total reform of our entire political structure, which will allow state government control resources and security apparatus through state police as expected of a true federal system of government”.
“So we appeal to the National Assembly to embrace constitutional reforms so as to check insecurity and retard growth currently pervading our nation, we need structural adjustment to the polity. Let the 36 state governments control their resources and police their states”.
“I believe that our vision for a greater Nigeria shall come to pass only under a peaceful and well democratised system” President of COMPASS concluded.