President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed the Inspector General of police, to ‘conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians’ on brutality and extortions by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Youths across the country have demanded the scrapping of the police unit and had accussed the renamed unit, the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, has also extended their outrage on the Nigeria Police Force.
Several Protests to dissolve the unit, have been held in several Nigerian cities, with protesters storming the streets with placards and demanding that SARS, a police unit alleged of extensive abuse and extortion, be totally quashed.
Protesters in Lagos hit the street on Thursday, passed the night outside the premises of the Lagos State House of Assembly as they clamour for the end of SARS. This public demonstration led to the intervention of the Lagos House of Assembly later on Friday. A motion supporting the call for SARS to be scrapped was presented. Falz, Mc Macaroni, Runtown, and other musicians, comedians, and members of the entertainment industry joined the protest. The protesters met with the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, who tried to placate them and assure them that government will intervene. In Lagos, Protesters have marched, and slept in the streets for three days.
There were also visible protests in Imo, Ilorin, Ibadan, Ile-Ife, and Abuja. In Imo, Officer Obioma Obi, a Divisional Police Officer reported having pointed and cocked his gun at protesters, and had led to the dispersal of the protesters with tear gas. This has led to a swift reaction from the Imo State Command who told the media that the DPO reacted in an unruly manner and would be made to face the Police disciplinary committee.
President Buhari said, ‘I met again with the IGP tonight. Our determination to reform the police should never be in doubt. I am being briefed regularly on the reform efforts ongoing to end police brutality and unethical conduct, and ensure that the Police are fully accountable to the people.’
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He proceeded by saying that, ‘The IG already has my firm instructions to conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians regarding these excesses, and ensure erring personnel are brought to justice. I appeal for patience and calm, even as Nigerians freely exercise their right to peacefully make their views known.’
The Nigerian lawmakers also urged the police to ensure the safety of the demonstrators and not harass them. However, the Police had earlier disclosed that it will implement reforms but have also insisted that the unit will not be scrapped.
This concession was totally revoked by protesters, as protests are being held outside of Nigerian embassies in some other countries. According to our sources, Nigerians-in-Diaspora has also joined the EndSars Protest. They picketed the front of the US embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, yesterday, while other protests are being planned in Berlin, Germany, and Toronto, Canada. They are also planning to protest in front of the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.
The President further disclosed that ‘The vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are patriotic and committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians, and we will continue to support them to do their job.’
Adenike Omosanya and Femi Morgan
Photo Credit: trendsmap, the Guardian, Onobello, ChannelsTV