By Christian Njoku
Calabar, Oct. 22, 2020 Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River on Thursday pledged support for the ongoing #EndSARS protest in the nation while inaugurating a seven-man Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution to investigate police brutality on residents of the state.
Speaking during the inauguration of the panel in Calabar, Ayade said that African leaders must be bold enough to admit the fact that they have failed the younger generation.
“It is time for us to develop that consciousness, face reality and agree with the young people that something has gone wrong.
“It has nothing to do with one administration or the other but the result of a rot that has accumulated over time.
“It is time to provide prosperity for our young ones just as the government did for us during our time.
“That is why I stand with the youth of this nation to say we must put an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“I cannot explain why a young man will come out of the university and five, six years down the line, he is still unemployed, yet, everyday he tries to eke out a living on the streets, he gets brutalised.
“Government must recognise the fact that it has to first provide that which was provided in our constitution in section 14(2) that the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of its citizens,’’ he said.
He challenged the panel to come together and allow people who had been brutalised to speak out adding that the state would do all it could to ensure that victims were rightly compensated.
The chairman of the panel of enquiry, retired Justice Michael Edem, thanked the governor for appointing him and other worthy indigenes of the state adding that it would make his work easier.
According to Edem, a former Chief Judge of Cross River, the members are not there for any sentimental or emotional course but to get the facts of the matter.
“We want to assure you, Sir, that we will come out with findings and recommendations that will make you look back and say thank God this panel was set up,” he said.
It would be recalled that for over 10 days, the nation has been engulfed in protests by the youth over alleged brutality from FSARS and the Nigeria Police Force.