The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has warned police officers not to use force against peaceful protesters.
The warning by the police chief comes amidst video clips on social media showing police officers firing live rounds at peaceful protesters.
There have also been photos of police officers standing by to watch armed thugs attack protesters.
A statement from the force headquarters on Thursday evening quoted Mr Adamu as saying that citizens “have the fundamental right of freedom of expression, assembly, and movement and these must always be upheld and protected by the police”.
The police chief, however, appealed to protesters to “continually conduct themselves and guide their ranks from being infiltrated by criminal elements”.
“The Force leadership has heard the voice of the people clearly and is irrevocably committed to doing everything possible to address the observed ills, punish the offending officers, and enthrone a people-friendly police force,” Mr Adamu said.
The #EndSARS protests, originally targeted at the scraping of a notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), have gone on for over a week now in various Nigerian cities.
Many Nigerians have shared their horrendous experiences at the hands of operatives of the police unit, ranging from extortion to extra-judicial killing of citizens.
Although the unit was disbanded on Sunday and replaced with the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit on Tuesday, Nigerians have refused to end the protests.
The protesters have demanded the halt to the use of force against protesters, unconditional release of arrested citizens, prosecution of officers culpable of extra-judicial killings, amongst other demands.
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