SARS

As Nigerians Demand #EndSARS, President Buhari Tweets About Police ‘Reform’

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday broke silence over ongoing #EndSARS protests demanding an end to police brutality in the country.

Following days of renewed protests by Nigerians calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police notorious for cases of human rights abuse, Buhari summoned the Inspector General of Police Adamu Mohammed to the presidential villa.

In a statement on Friday evening, Buhari said he had instructed Adamu to bring erring police officers to book, adding that he has been receiving briefings about reform efforts to end police brutality.

However, many Nigerians worry about the lack of political will to implement any reforms – calling instead for a total disbandment of the SARS unit.

In 2018, the country’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, while deputizing for President Buhari who was out of the country on a medical trip abroad, ordered the unit to be overhauled. In January 2019, the police announced another ban on the same police unit.

Not much has changed since these bans were put in place.

“A similar ban on SARS did not end police brutality because it appeared the bans were simply done to assuage the swelling public anger at the time of the announcement and not intended to end police brutality,” Amnesty Nigeria’s program manager, Seun Bakare told CNN.

But President Buhari on Friday said the determination of his administration “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,” he said.

“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 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.”

 

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