The police have promised to address widespread abuses by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, amidst complaints by Nigerians that the department has allegedly become a cluster of criminals in uniform.
Allegations of extra-judicial killings, torture, wanton arrests for bribes and other menacing conducts flooded social media since Saturday, with citizens taking their rage to the Internet and demanding action.
The coordinators of #EndSARS, a hashtag many Nigerians have adopted to amplify the issue, told PREMIUM TIMES their aim is to compel the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to scrap SARS.
They argue that the department, which was launched in early 2000s to combat armed robbery and other criminal activities, has become too contaminated to be reformed.
It is “disheartening seeing some officers acting uncivilised and unruly. I sympathise with Nigerians who must have found themselves in such situations and believe me the authority is not happy about it!” Assistant police spokesperson, Aliyu Giwa, wrote on Twitter.
“Trust me the authority have (sic) taken actions on this issue,” he added.
Fam, I know it so disheartening seeing some officers acting uncivilized and unruly. I sympathize with Nigerians who must have found themselves in such situations and believe me the authority is not happy about it! Trust me the authority have taken actions on this issue.
— Aliyu Giwa (@aleeygiwa) December 3, 2017
Mr. Giwa did not immediately respond to requests about the specific actions police have taken towards a satisfactory solution for anti-SARS campaigners, but he mentioned the distribution of a police contact flyer as part of the solutions in a follow-up tweet.
Scores of people have narrated their ordeals after encountering SARS personnel in different parts of the country.
The complaints have ranged from how officers waylaid citizens at ATM points to how they often threatened to kill and vowing they would get away with it.
There were specific claims of how SARS officers allegedly murdered citizens for declining to pay bribes or tortured citizens.