…Sanwo-Olu to meet Buhari as protests turn violent in Lagos
…Training of new unit taking over from SARS will begin next week – IGP
…10 protesters have been killed by police, says Amnesty International
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja declared that disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration.
President Buhari also directed that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts be brought to justice.
”I will like to use this opportunity to say a word on the recent genuine concerns and agitations by Nigerians about the excessive use of force and in some cases extra-judicial killings and wrongful conduct of the men of the Nigerian Police Force,’’ President Buhari said.
He continued: “The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.
”We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.
“We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations.
“I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.
“Meanwhile, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties.
“The few bad eggs should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force.”
This comes as Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday said he would be meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday present the demands of Lagos youths on the #EndSARS protest.
Addressing the protesters in Lekki, where crowds of youths camped and blocked the expressway, Sanwo-Olu urged them to be decorous and peaceful while expressing their grievances against the excessive use of force by SARS.
The Governor told the demonstrators that their protest was legitimate, but pleaded with them not to block the roads while passing on their grievances to the authorities.
“Your voice has been heard clearly and a clear pronouncement has been made on the activities of SARS. The operation has been dissolved by the police leadership and just a moment ago, Mr. President addressed the nation on the issues you have raised. The President has said all SARS officers that are involved in the killing of innocent people and engaging in human rights abuses will be brought to justice.
“My stance on this EndSARS is unmistakable and I have told you that we identify with this protest because you have legitimate concerns. I am saying it again here that this protest is in good faith. But, we must not be unruly when going out on a protest like this. We want you to be peaceful and decorous in expressing yourselves,” he said.
In another development, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has assured that the training of a new police unit to take over from the disbanded SARS will commence next week.
Adamu spoke when popular musician, David Adeleke aka Davido, visited him in office on Monday over the ongoing #ENDSARS protests.
He said with SARS being disbanded, there was need to get a new structure to carry out the duties the defunct police unit was carrying out, which is fighting violent crimes.
He said the new outfit would be intelligence -driven, properly trained and only act on special occasions that require their attention.
He said the unit would be made up of fresh personnel with a fresh orientation and not officers from the scrapped unit.
He said opportunities would be created for members of the public to participate in and make inputs to the formation of the new unit.
Adamu said this was the first time they have decisively taken to dissolve SARS and called for calm as they continue to resolve all the issues.
He said Davido‘s visit to talk about the issue is the best way to deal with the current problem. .
He said in the formation of the new unit corrections would be taken from the experience of SARS.
“We just disbanded yesterday so protesters should calm down and give us time to fix the problem. The general public will be part of the process of getting a new outfit.
“I’m talking to you so I will keep talking to many others and get civil societies involved and get their input towards the new unit,” he said.
The IGP promised to investigate all cases of brutality and bring perpetrators to book.
He said the issue of compensation to the families of those affected by SARS’ would be addressed when investigations are concluded.
“We want justice to be done and justice will be done,” he said.
He said officers of the disbanded would be retrained and given other responsibilities in the Force, but will not be reabsorbed into the new unit.
“We admit the trust gap is wide but we will work to bridge that gap,” he said.
Davido urged every officer part of SARS be relieved of their duties.
Davido demanded the immediate release of all arrested protesters.
He also called for justice for the victims of SARS brutality and compensation for their families.
Meanwhile, global rights group, Amnesty International, says 10 protesters have been killed by the Nigeria Police Force since the #EndSARS demonstrations began last Thursday.
Amnesty said this in a tweet on Monday.
It said, “So far, Nigerian police have killed at least 10 people since the start of protests against callous operations of SARS.”
Policemen in the Ogbomosho town of Oyo State on Saturday killed a youth, Isiaq Jimoh, who was said not to be part of the protest.
Another protester was killed in the Surulere area of Lagos State on Monday.