Nigeria's Buhari promises police reform; one protester killed

Friday, 16 Oct, 2020

Similarly, American gospel singer Kirk Franklin, using the photo of one of the Nigerian protesters, issued a message of support on Instagram: "For over 20 years, Nigeria stood with me, now I stand with you".

But they remain unhappy following Sunday's announcement that officers are being redeployed to other units rather than being disciplined.

Nationwide protests against brutality by men of the proscribed Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) entered its sixth day yesterday with new twists and turns.

The protest defied a ban on mass rallies in the capital Abuja that the government said was imposed earlier on Thursday to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

However, many people could not help but feel like they'd been duped.

"Beyond terse statement that SARS is dissolved, the police authorities must demonstrate a commitment to #EndSARS by showing evidence like the closure of the many SARS detention centres and formations".

He said that the profiling from SARS, especially on the Creative community has been brutal, and that the shooting of protesters needs to end.

Crowds there have called for reforms to SARS but not for the unit to be scrapped as it is seen as helping to fight rampant insecurity in the region.

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In Lagos, in the Ikeja neighborhood, several witnesses also reported to AFP acts of intimidation by dozens of young people brandishing machetes and knives, but they were apprehended by the demonstrators and two of them were turned over to the police.

This happened as protesters, numbering over 1000, occupied the Kogi State Government House.

Protests against police brutality in Nigeria have brought Africa's largest city to a standstill and dominated social media, channelling anger among the frustrated youth that has forced the government to listen.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a press release on Wednesday, urged protesters to wind down demonstrations, saying that the gridlock induced in latest days had disrupted companies nonetheless reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. However, there are no signs that anyone who served on the unit will be prosecuted for crimes they committed, nor does it seem that they will be removed from the police force.

Police opened fire with live ammunition on Monday against anti-police demonstrators in the Surulere district of Lagos, marchers said.

IN Kogi, youths blocked the gate to the Government House, denied everyone, including security operatives, government officials, access into the complex.

They sang songs of solidarity, recited the national anthem, and chanted 'EndSWAT!' 'EndSARS!'.

Buhari promised "extensive police reforms".