After days of online and offline protest against Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) brutality and extra-judicial killings by the police formation, the Federal Government has agreed to meet five points demands of the protesters, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens across the country.
The apex government also approved the immediate release of all arrested protesters, justice for all deceased victims of police brutality, and appropriate compensation for their families.
Others include setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct, psychological evaluation and retraining of all disbanded SARS officers before their redeployment, and salary increment for police officers for protecting the lives and properties of citizens.
As part of the apex government moves to begin implementation of demands by protesters, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, convened a meeting with stakeholders, agreeing to meet demands, according to a statement released to newsmen on Tuesday by the presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
The meeting, organized by the Office of the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission, was said to be a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry, and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.
The stakeholders, through a communiqué signed after the meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), agreed that there was need for thorough engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in the law enforcement agency.
According to the communiqué signed by Adamu and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, the stakeholders affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters are genuine concerns and would be addressed by the apex government.
They added that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the police force as a modern, responsive, and citizens-centered law enforcement organisation.
“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 IGP 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,’’ the communique read.
The communiqué stated that the sub-committees would be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organizations.
It would be recalled that the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Muhammad, during the weekend, dissolved SARS in line with yearnings of Nigerians and 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.
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.
Upon the dissolution, the protesters who are not satisfied with the IGP pronouncement outlined their demands to include the immediate release of all arrested protesters, among others five demands.