Protesters adamant despite govt’s approval of requests
EndSARS protesters are yet to back down despite the government’s overtures.
Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu announced on Tuesday the decision of the government to accede to all requests made by the protesters.
He also announced measures to reform the police system, including summoning operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to Abuja and the creation of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to take over the duties of SARS.
The protesters rejected the creation of SWAT and announced that the protests, which spread to Kaduna, Enugu and Warri, among other cities, will continue today.
They took to their Facebook accounts and twitter pages to register their displeasure about the SWAT squad.
To them, creating SWAT is like renaming SARS.
In the reactions posted on the social media, they announced various protests points and locations today.
On twitter, they launched a hashtag against SWAT. This started trending on the microblogging site last night. There were over 55,400 tweets rejecting the new anti-robbery unit as at 10pm on Tuesday.
Many argued that SWAT was like giving SARS operatives new uniforms to wear.
Hip hop artiste and Ruggedman @RuggeddyBaba said: “We thank God for that and wait to see implementation.”
J.J. Omojuwa @omojuwa posted: “This is a great start. We need quick arrests of the officers that shot and killed citizens. And we need to advance #PoliceReforms immediately.
“After all the protests, it’s time to hold government to their commitments on #PoliceReforms
“It’s time to now focus on a post-protest plan. After all the agitations and efforts over the last few days, it’d be sad to lose on the implementation front. That’s where the crux of the matter becomes policy. We need to be strategic #PoliceReforms.”
Segun Awosanya @Segalink said: “Let me tell you this for free. The Govt bent over backwards and approved all the demands including the #5for5. The President even gave the Presidential order as demanded. As we speak they are constituting an independent panel to investigate these crimes in the next five days.
“It was a long one but the demand for the immediate release of all that may have been arrested and some even charged with murder should be released unconditionally. The IGP and the panel agreed to all the terms as presented and will show this in their action.
“Progress is being made regardless and actions will speak louder. All the officers that shot at peaceful protesters will be prosecuted and you will see the outcome transparently. This affects us all. Never have I imagined living in a country where these kind of things happen.
“While the meeting was going on, we received live updates on ground and the meeting was interrupted with orders given for immediate report on what actually transpired in SURULERE. @koredebello demanded that the IGP order the police officers to stand down & stop shooting at people.
Inspector-General of Police Adamu announced the decision after meeting with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) leaders, representatives of civil society organisations, activists from the entertainment industry, the ENDSARS movement and the development partners.
The five-point demand, which the government approved are:
- Immediate release of all arrested protesters
- Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families
- Setting up of an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days)
- In line with the new police act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS operatives before redeployment
- Higher police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens.
The Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission (PSC) were also present at the meeting.
A communiqué of the Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:
“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.
“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.
“The Forum collectively welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored on the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.
“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.
“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.
“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships”, it said.
The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.
Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.
Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.