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#EndSARS: Buhari addresses Nigerians

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has said the dissolution of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police is the first step in the reform of the Nigeria Police.

“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,” Buhari said in a video on Monday.

“We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct and wrongful acts are brought to justice.”

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Buhari’s address came after weeks of local and international agitation against the now-dissolved controversial unit of the police.

In recent years, officials of the SARS unit of the police have been in a public bad light for harassment, illegal arrest and extortion of citizens, especially youths.

There have also been cases of extrajudicial killings by some officials attached to SARS in different parts of Nigeria.

Nigerians, mostly in thousands online and offline demanded the scrapping of the police unit. Many of the protesters demonstrated overnight – especially in Lagos State.

The government, however, responded to these protest when Nigeria’s inspector general of police Mohammed Adamu on Sunday announced that the SARS unit has been dissolved.

“New policing arrangements to address the offences of armed robbery, and other violent crimes that fall within the mandate of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad shall be presented in due course,” Adamu said.

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Despite announcing the dissolution of the unit, Nigerians – home and abroad continued the protest, demanding an overhaul of the police, an end to brutality and an executive order from Buhari to the scrapping of SARS.

Many were injured and one person killed during the protests in different parts of Nigeria when police personnel shot at protesters during the weekend. One of the protesters Jimoh Ishaq was shot dead in Oyo State on Saturday.

Buhari said he has directed an investigation into the Ishaq’s death.

“We also 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,” Buhari said.

The president said the majority of Nigeria Police personnel are “diligent and hardworking in performing their duties” and their image should not be tarnished because of “a few bad eggs.”

Buhari stated that the responsibility of police personnel remains to protect citizens.


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