#EndSARS: ECOWAS Urges Security Agencies to Exercise Restraint

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By Adedayo Akinwale

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has expressed concern over the protest against police brutality by the Nigeria youth that have turned violent.

To this end, it called on the federal government to conduct investigation into the misconduct of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) rapidly.

The President of the Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, stated this in a statement issued Wednesday, while also calling security operatives to exercise restraint in the handling of the protests and act professionally.

He stated: “ECOWAS Commission notes with concern that demonstrations by Nigerian youth calling for police reform, particularly the abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, accused of misconduct by those demonstrating, have turned violent.

“While ECOWAS Commission recognizes the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and protests, it is also of the view that those rights should be exercised in a non-violent manner. In this regard, ECOWAS Commission calls on all protesters to remain peaceful in the conduct of their demonstrations. It also urges the Nigerian security operatives to exercise restraint In the handling of the protests and act professionally.

“ECOWAS Commission further notes that in an effort to address the demands of the protesting youth, the federal government of Nigeria took important decisions regarding disbandment ot SARS, comprehensive police reforms and investigation of cases of police brutality. It encourages the Nigerian Authorities to conduct the investigation rapidly.”

The Commission expressed its condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives during the protests and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

The commission appealed to the federal government, the Nigerian youth and the civil society to urgently pursue dialogue for an early and amicable resolution of this social urest and maintain the Nigerian image as a bastion at law and order.