#SMWLagos 2020: Sterling prioritises police-youth violence prevention

Sterling Bank hosted a bridge building session on the opening day of Social Media Week Lagos 2020 as part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the escalating violent encounters between the police and young Nigerians.  

Tagged “Social Media Wars: Dreads, Tattoos and Passwords”, the session moderated by broadcaster Gbemisola Olateru-Olagbegi, had the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Abubakar Suleiman; former Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos; Ace Rapper, Micheal Stephens, popularly known as “Ruggedman” and Convener, #EndSARS Campaign, Segun Awosanya “Segalink” on the top side of the conversation.

Setting the tone for the conversation, Suleiman said the hot topic was considered in the best interest of the country and her promising, highly enterprising and energetic youth. He said profiling any person as criminal for wearing dreadlocks or tattoos is wrong; and such labelling can only be addressed by important and truthful conversations among all stakeholders.

Opening the conversation, Badmos commended Sterling Bank for hosting the session aimed at fostering peaceful relations between the police and the general public. “What Sterling Bank has done is commendable. It shows that the Bank recognizes that preventing anarchy and enhancing security is everybody’s businesses. This innovation will forever linger in the heart of Nigerians, especially the youth.”

The former Lagos PPRO attributed the profiling of youths with tattoos and dreads as criminals by officers of the Nigerian Police Force to the difference in culture and values, adding that Nigerian police is work in progress and will evolve in line with global trends

On his part, Awosanya said the usual social media controversy over attacks of defenseless Nigerians by police officers and use of force against the youth are not unconnected to the many years of military rule which make many officers see leadership as a show of control by force.

He however enjoined Nigerians to rise to the challenge of leadership by seeking to correct the many anomalies in the country. He said; “we must redefine leadership so everyone take up the challenge of correcting the many anomalies we have seen.”

Corroborating Awosanya, Stephens said he believed everyone must take responsibility to make the change they seek in the Nigerian Police happen. The popular musician noted that Nigerians must be their brothers’ keeper in order to contain the challenge of repressive leadership and institutions facing the populace.”

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