Abiru: I Support Justice for Victims of Lekki Incidents

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Gboyega Akinsanmi

The candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru yesterday said he supported the decision of the Lagos State government and the federal government to investigate attacks on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate on October 20 and get justice for the victims.

Abiru, a former Executive Director in First Bank Plc and immediate past CEO of Polaris Bank Limited, assured youths that the agenda presented during the #EndSARS protest would be a major part of his legislative priorities.

He expressed support for the victims of Lekki incidents in a statement he issued yesterday to the youths of Lagos East, noting that the #EndSARS protesters remained peaceful and responsible throughout their protests.

In his statement titled “A Message to Lagos East Youths,” Abiru said it was sad that forces other than the peaceful #EndSARS protesters turned a potential moment of hope, inspiration and transformation into a tragedy.

He added that the peaceful protests were undercut by “seemingly orchestrated sporadic attacks” on demonstrators in the state and across the country, followed by “the tragic events at the Lekki tollgate on October 20.”

Abiru, an accomplished economist and chartered accountant, observed that it “is not yet fully clear the precise events of that evening or the source of orders, if any, received by the security agencies at the location.

“I support state and federal investigations to establish the sequence of events and establish culpability and accountability for all actions, as well as justice for all victims and their families, with the active participation of civil society.

“In the aftermath, we experienced another tragedy as Lagos witnessed an unprecedented orgy of violence including looting of stores and supermarkets; severe damage to government and private property including several businesses; and the desecration of our culture and traditions by persons who invaded the palaces of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; and the Onitedo of Iwerekun, Oba T.A. Elemoro.”

He, therefore, commiserated with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the good people of Lagos on this unfortunate incident and pray that such will never again be seen in Lagos.

He added that he had ‘strongly supported’ the agitation of youths against police brutality and for policing reforms as evident in his statements in conventional and social media.

Abiru stated, “On October 9, I called on the Inspector General of Police to pursue comprehensive reforms to make the dissolution of SARS effective.

“On October 12, I urged the Federal Government to collaborate with the states, civil society organisations and other critical stakeholders to initiate far-reaching reforms of the Nigerian police that will translate into a truly citizen-centred and community-oriented policing system.”

He urged the youths “to be vigilant and careful to ensure evil forces do not destroy our Lagos, or divide us and pitch us against each other. We must disappoint those who viciously attack our common patrimony and desecrate our heritage.

“We must also address the problems of poverty, unemployment and disconnect with our teeming youths and masses; and overall we must join hands to build the future of a new Lagos with opportunity and prosperity for all.

“We must deepen the participation of our youths in the political process with our passionate and energetic youth becoming not just leaders of tomorrow, but also of today,” the APC candidate explained.

He promised to leverage his experience of over three decades as an economist, chartered accountant and banking executive who has worked in exemplary institutions such as Deloitte, GTBank and First Bank and who has led the transformation of the former troubled Skye Bank into a strong, digitally enabled and strategically positioned Polaris Bank, to do all within his power to improve the lot of youths and masses.

He promised “to engage with our youths at multiple levels and provide structured and sustainable empowerment for women and youths through an endowment including capacity building, skills acquisition, microfinance; and incorporate the “5 for 5” agenda of the #EndSARS protesters in my legislative priorities.”