President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said the #EndSARS protests embarked upon by young Nigerians last October is ‘understandable’. He also restated the commitment of his administration to “fulfilling the five demands of our youths.”
Mr Buhari stated this in his New Year message to Nigerians early Friday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported on the #EndSARS protests during which thousands of youth marched across Nigeria and abroad to demand an end to police brutality, the scrapping of a notorious police unit, SARS, and comprehensive police reforms.
The unit, SARS, has since been disbanded while over 20 state governments have set up judicial panels to invest human rights abuses the police.
Dozens of protesters and other Nigerians were also killed by security forces during the protests while many police officers were also killed, especially after the protests were hijacked by hoodlums following a government crackdown.
PREMIUM TIMES has also reported several other cases of police brutality after the #EndSARS protests ended. The government has also gone after key players in the protest, arresting some, freezing the bank accounts of many and preventing at least one of them from travelling abroad.
The clampdown on the protesters has been condemned by many Nigerians and civic groups including SERAP and Amnesty International with many saying the government was being hypocritical by clamping down on protesters while claiming to meet their demands.
On Friday, however, Mr Buhari restated his promise that his administration would meet the demands of the protesters.
“2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability.
“This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria,” he said.
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