Following the week-long protests that started across major cities in Nigeria, more Nigerians took to the streets of Abuja, on Saturday, to demand an end to the menace of police brutality and harassment of the youth.
The movement, which first began in 2017, erupted in fresh protests on Wednesday in cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Asaba, Ibadan, among others, over the reported killing of a man by police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives on Saturday.
The protesters in Abuja marched from Berger through the Wuse Market area up to Wuse 2.
They soon moved to Unity Fountain in Maitama and stopped at Nigeria Police Headquarters to vent their frustration and call for the disbandment of the SARS.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter at the scene reports that the young people were holding different banners with inscriptions calling for total disbandment of the police unit.
The Commissioner of Police FCT Command, Habu Ciroma, made attempts to address the protesters but they interrupted and vowed not to listen to any officer but the Inspector General of Police.
As of press time on Saturday afternoon, the young people remained in front of the Nigeria Police Force headquarters at Louis Edet House for more than three hours now.
Meanwhile, in his first public comments on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari said he has instructed the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to “conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians” about police brutality.
“I met again with the IGP tonight. Our determination to reform the police should never be in doubt. I am being briefed regularly on the reform efforts ongoing to end police brutality and unethical conduct, and ensure that the Police are fully accountable to the people,” the president tweeted late Friday night.
But, the protesters, now expanding nationwide and in the diaspora, maintained that they were not asking for a reformation of the SARS outfit, but a complete scrap of that unit.
Led by activist Aisha Yesufu, Omoyele Sowore and former NANS President, Abdul Mahmud, one of the protesters Adewale Busola, told PREMIUM TIMES that she is a mother who is demanding a better future for her children.
“I am a mother of two and I am here to fight for the future of my children,” she said, adding that, “If I don’t fight for them today, their future isn’t secured and they’ll grow up to be oppressed by this same SARS.”
“I was motivated by the campaign on social media from Nigerians all over the world and what I’m demanding from the government is to scrap this Police unit and let’s have a better Nigeria,” said Fortune Akamba, another member of the protests.
PREMIUM TIMES reported similar protests held in Lagos, Saturday morning, as young people gathered at the Lagos State Secretariat to demand the proscription of the police unit.
The young people trooped to vent their frustration, moving out in groups along the Secretariat Road, Alausa.