· Lagos Assembly calls for proscription of police unit
There was violence in Osun and Abuja on Friday as youths protest against police brutality and extortion.
Hundreds of youths poured out into the streets in some states across the country for a second day to get their voices heard as part of the ongoing protest to demand the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force after a video of a man allegedly being killed by police went viral.
Hundreds of youths gathered in Ikeja in central Lagos on Friday, holding banners reading “respect for human rights” and “a more equal society”.
However, the protesters were met with aggression from police officers in Osun and Abuja.
In Abuja, dozens of protesters also gathered and police forces used tear gas to disperse protesters, according to witness accounts.
“Our members were close to 200 in the protest. We were teargassed,” human rights activist Deji Adeyanju told the AFP news agency.
“We had not started when the police came. They shot teargas at us,” one of the protesters shared on Twitter.
In Osun, protesters met the police at Olaiya Junction, Osogbo and threw stones at them to avoid any arrest.
In retaliation, police fired shots to disperse the protesters.
Recall that the protest in Delta on Thursday turned bloody when police shot at demonstrators.
A protester was shot in the leg.
In the ensuing melee, a police officer was killed while another was wounded.
The #ENDSARS has been on since Wednesday as Nigerian youth demand for the scrapping of the dreaded police unit over reports of indiscriminate arrests, extortions, detention and killings without punitive measures taken against SARS officers.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to address the concerns of Nigerians.
In a series of tweets on Friday, President Buhari ordered the police chief to reform SARS nationwide after meeting with the police chief.
“The IG already has my firm instructions to conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians regarding these excesses, & ensure erring personnel are brought to justice,” he said.
“I appeal for patience and calm, even as Nigerians freely exercise their right to peacefully make their views known.
“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.
“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.”
In another development, the Lagos State House of Assembly Friday asked for the SARS unit to be proscribed and demanded the formation of a new, well-structured unit.
The assembly also demanded protection for persons protesting against police brutality in the state.
The House also called on the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, to provide protection for the protesters while they express their grievances.
The call was made at an emergency sitting presided over by the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, to address the petition of the protesters and add a voice to the current call across the nation for an end to the widely reported alleged inhuman activities of the body.
Obasa and some lawmakers on Thursday addressed some protesters at the House of Assembly demanding for an end to F-SARS.
Among the seven-point resolution passed after an extensive deliberation was also that the Senate and the House of Representatives should carry out a probe of the allegations against F-SARS including killing, maiming and dehumanising of Nigerians.
The Lagos State House of Assembly resolved that “the Commissioner of Police Lagos State should protect End-SARS Protesters in the state and ensure that they are not molested.
“The Commissioner of Police should stop unwarranted molestation of our youths by the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad otherwise known as F-SARS and its counterparts in the State.
“The Senate President and the Speaker of National Assembly should institute public enquiry on the extra-judicial activities, killings, maiming and dehumanization of our youths by the Anti- Robbery Squad ensure that the victims are duly compensated while erring officers sanctioned appropriately.
“SARS be proscribed and a new security outfit which will be more efficient with clearly spelt out code of conduct and rule of engagements be established while sanction is imposed for misdemeanour.”