#End SARS: Youths Sustain Protests in Abuja, Jos, Onitsha

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  • Storm US, EU, UK embassies 
  • PDP urges Buhari to restructure, overhaul police

By Chuks Okocha and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Despite the disbandment of the dreaded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, protesters yesterday continued in Abuja, Onitsha in Anambra State and Jos in Plateau State to demand comprehensive reforms of policing in the country.

This is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to go beyond scrapping the SARS to restructure and overhaul the Nigeria Police.

The street demonstrators, mainly youths and civil rights activists, stormed the Force Headquarters, the Embassies of the United States and United Kingdom and the European Union Press Centre in Maitama to press home their demands.

One of the key demands made by the activists to the US and UK embassies was a call for a visa ban on the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Nwachukwu Enwonwu and members of his family for Enwonwu’s role in the human rights violation against protesters in Oyo State, which resulted in the death of scores of protesters in Ogbomoso, in the northern part of the city.

Yesterday’s protest was largely successful in spite of large presence of heavily-armed police personnel that was stationed around the Eagle Square and the Force Headquarters along the Shehu Shagari Road to deter the protesters.

Different activists groups also staged protests at Wuse Market and Central Business District later in the day.

The protesters were demanding the immediate release of all arrested protesters, reforms by the federal government into policing, including increment of police salary so that policemen will be adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens.

Other demands were justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families in addition to the setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct within 10 days.

The protesters also want the police authority to set up an independent body to evaluate and retrain all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed in line with new Police Act.

Meanwhile, the PDP also berated the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for attempting to trivialise the excesses of the disbanded SARS.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that the party supported the dissolution of the SARS of the police.

The party, however charged Buhari to also take immediate steps to “completely overhaul and restructure the entire police architecture to engender professionalism, adherence to rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of Nigerians. “

The statement read in part, “Our party also demands that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, should go beyond dissolution and reassignment of SARS officers by commencing the profiling, arrest and prosecution of the members of the disbanded outfit and other errant police operatives involved in the reported series of extra-judicial killings, unlawful arrests and detention, extortion, harassment and dehumanization of innocent Nigerians, particularly in the last five years.

“Without mincing words, the PDP insists that no indicted officer should be reassigned and allowed to go unpunished after such heinous crime against the Nigerian people.

“Those who killed, maimed, dehumanised and foisted a reign of terror on innocent Nigerians must be made to answer for their devilish actions.”