President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration was on part of Nigerians, particularly youths calling for an outright scrapping of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of Nigeria Police Force, saying the disbandment was first step to extensive police reforms being taken by the Federal Government.
It would be recalled that after days of protests both online and offline by youths calling for outright scrapping of the unit over alleged brutality and killings of innocent Nigerians, the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Muhammad, yesterday dissolved SARS in line with yearnings of Nigerians.
This is coming as he also disclosed that officers attached to the unit nationwide would be redeployed to other police formations and commands across the country in line with demands by Nigerians protesting extra-judicial killings by SARS operatives.
The police boss explained that dissolution which takes immediate effect would be done across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed in response to yearnings of the Nigerian people.
However, despite disbandment of the unit by Adamu, Nigerians on Monday return to the streets, mounting roadblocks on roads and laid siege at public places to demand the President’s pronouncement on the law enforcement agency.
The development by the protesters led to an early morning gridlock on bridges and major roads including Lekki-Epe expressway, forcing many commuters and motorists to spend several man-hours on the road.
Reacting to the development while Speaking at launch of the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES), aimed at creating 774,000 jobs across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country, Buhari affirmed that SARS disbandment was first step to extensive police reforms by his administration and that he had 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. 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,” he said.