The Edo State Government has given security agencies in the state 24 hours within which to produce the killers of one of the #EndSARS protesters in Benin on Friday.
Unidentified hoodlums had swooped on the protesters, who converged at the popular King’s Square in the early hours of Friday.
While one of the protesters was confirmed dead, many others sustained varying degrees of injuries from the attack by the hoodlums.
Addressing the protesters, the state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, while condemning the “unprovoked attacks”, ordered the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators within the next 24 hours.
We don’t want either SARS or SWAT in Edo.
The second thing is that I have given instructions to the security agencies to fist out those behind the attack.
The police, Department of State Services and others must bring to book those who stoned you, shot at you and the one who killed that young man.
Some of you sustained injuries.
I can see them from here.
They have 24 hours to bring them to book.
The deputy governor also directed that the victim be taken to the morgue, pledging that he would be given a state burial and treated as the martyr of the struggle.
Shaibu said: He will be remembered for being part of the struggle, and by the grace of God, he will never be forgotten.
When all these reforms must have taken place, it will be on record that he joined the struggle for emancipation.
I want to assure you that Edo Government believes in your peaceful protest.
You have been protesting, and nobody has been injured.
You have been protesting, with no property destroyed.
That is what is called peaceful protest.
Those miscreants who want to create problem, I can assure you that we will not fold out hands and watch them brutalise any of you.
That, I want to assure you.
“So, please maintain your peaceful protest.”
Shaibu, who noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had promised a reform in the police, said the state government would ensure that the country eventually had a reform that would be people-friendly.
“The police are meant to protect lives and property, and not to destroy them. So I want to assure you that we are with you on this,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, David Osayande, requested that a state burial be given to the victim of the protest.
One of us has been killed during this struggle.
Sir, we want a state burial for him.
We want an end to police brutality.
We want the police to stop arresting us without committing any offence.
The Edo State Police Command, which confirmed the incident in a statement by its spokesman, Chidi Nwabuzor, said the report came to it as a shock.
It identified the man killed as Simon John.
Nwabuzor added in the statement;
The Commissioner of Police Edo State, CP Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, has directed the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department to commence a full scale investigation into the immediate and remote cause of the murder of late Simon John, vowed to arrest the perpetrators of this dastardly act for prosecution in court accordingly.
In light of the above, the CP hereby commiserates with the family members of late Simon John for his untimely death and pray to God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
He however, appeals to the #EndSARS protesters to end the protest and patiently wait for the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, to implement the Police reforms.