#EndSARS: Nigeria police speak on planned nationwide protest

Special anti robbery squad of the Nigerian police force used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Pulse.ng]

A nationwide protest planned for Monday by anti-SARS protesters would not be disrupted because Nigerian citizens have fundamental rights to expression and association, the police have said.

“We respect the rights of all citizens to a peaceful gathering, expression, opinion and association,” force spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Friday afternoon.

A coalition of civic groups has commenced sensitisation activities ahead of a coordinated and simultaneous protest slated for Monday.

The protesters would gather in Lagos, Owerri, Kaduna, Port-Harcourt, Ibadan, Warri, Abuja, and other towns and cities across the country to demand an absolute abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a police department dogged by grievous allegations of rights abuses and theft.

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 campaigners have adopted #EndSARS to amplify specific cases of alleged abuse against SARS personnel.

Their aim is to compel the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to scrap the notorious squad, which was created by police leadership to combat armed robberies decades ago.

The campaigners delivered petitions to Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Senate President Bukola Saraki in September and said they received assurances that something would be done. An online petition for the abolition of SARS has garnered nearly 30,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris responded to the campaign on Tuesday with a directive that SARS should be reorganised for efficiency and accountability; but rejected calls to scrap the embattled squad.

Amongst the new measures to be adopted is the stripping of state police commissioners of the power to control SARS at the state level. A new commissioner to be based at Force Headquarters, Abuja, will now control SARS throughout the country.

Mr. Moshood told PREMIUM TIMES Friday that the campaigners should exercise patience to enable the order take effect.

“People should allow the efforts of the Inspector-General to yield results for now,” Mr. Moshood said.

But Deji Adeyanju, one of the organisers of the planned rally, rejected the appeal, saying the police have no record of reining in their own.

“Successive Inspectors-General have ordered policemen to stop mounting roadblocks, when did they ever listen?” Mr. Adeyanju queried.

He also noted how police officers across the country made a mockery of Mr. Idris’ order for policemen to desist from mounting roadblocks in September.

“If they cannot obey a pointed and precise order like that, then how could anyone expect them to stop their atrocities which they often commit in darkness?” Mr. Adeyanju said.

He maintained that the struggle to shut down SARS will not stop until their demands are met.

“We want this current SARS closed down. Then another one that is civil, professional and citizen-friendly be constituted immediately,” Mr. Adeyanju said. “This will allow us to have a professional police institution similar to the United Kingdom, United States and other civilised climes.”


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  • Aminu Mahmoud

    Deji Adeyanju again? another Melaye in the making,this man seems to appear in every protest across Nigerian cities since beginning of the present administration.

  • MilitaryPolice01 [Joint Chief]

    I have been a critic of IGP Idris, but he is right on this one, what SARS need is deep reorganisation and careful weeding out of the bad weed among them. The baby must not be thrown away with its filthy bath water. If you place a call to states like Anambra, they tell you that robberies and kidnapping is near zero in the state because of effectiveness of Anambra SARS and this has been corroborated by many. Nigerians should be wise, if SARS is disbanded, another outfit with a different name will be set up with 80% of the old SARS personnel lol.

  • Contact Point

    If the campaigners of #Endsars where only able to gather just 30,000 signatories out of over 180M Nigerians, it means Nigerians are not in support of their views concerning SARS. In every organisation just as in Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as well as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) there are bad egges but that does not mean we must generalise all to be bad and call for total scrabbling of NGOs and CSOs. Only the blind is not able to see the successes recorded by men and women of SARS who have putting their lives on the line to protect Nigerians from the menace of robbers and other armed gangs.

    • government

      My brother,the anti-SARS people are “making a mountain out of a mole hill”.Like you said there are bad eggs in every organisation,that does not mean the entire organisation is bad.Admittedly,some SARS dont behave well,but the work the unit does to make the society safe should be appreciated.What the IGP needs to do is to organise overseas training for at least 50 SARS personnel from each state formation.They will in turn train others.Also proven cases of infractions by personnel should be handled in line with service regulations.
      Another thing, the police deserve commendation when they do well.

  • OJpo

    WE KNEW THROUGH THE INTERNET THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE WALKING WITH HALF OF THEIR BRAIN.
    Excellent idea but unfortunately we all knew that corruption is illicit. These freedom fighters are yet to collect signatures against corrupt people or against the National assembly members that refused to disclose their wages and allowances.
    They are the same people that are supporting corrupt people ,what an hypocrite elements. They are now figh

  • Hinds Peter

    The color black is like manure.When you break it open(manure).It(manure)is black brown many shades.That is why they call black people colored people.Peter Carlos Hinds.Commander.Barbados.

  • Femi Lusky

    short days ahead for the police