Following several demands by Nigerian youths for a Presidential address on the ongoing #ENDSARS protests in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally released a statement addressing the protests which have been on for five days and have now gained international recognition.
This address comes after the official ban on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) issued yesterday 11th October, 2020, by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who the President had earlier directed to look into the matter.
The video posted on the President’s Twitter page @MBuhari showed him speaking at what further investigation by Gavel International showed to be the Launch of the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES) in Abuja, a program supposedly aimed at creating 774,000 jobs across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country.
The video posted on Twitter can be seen here: https://twitter.com/MBuhari/status/1315631722604748804?s=08
The President further declared that the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration and further directed that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts in the Police Force be made to face justice.
“I will like to use this opportunity to say a word on the recent genuine concerns and agitations by Nigerians about the excessive use of force and in some cases extra-judicial killings and wrongful conduct of the men of the Nigerian Police Force”
The President continued: “The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people. We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.
”We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations and I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.”
”Meanwhile, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties.The few bad eggs should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force.”
However, protesters do not seem to be convinced by this address, insisting that there be an immediate order for all officers to stop shooting on all Protest grounds. Besides the peaceful protests in different locations across the country, Twitter has served as the major social media which these youth protesters have chosen to voice out their agitations and make their demands known to the government, trending several hashtags including #ENSARSNOW #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITYINNIGERIA and #ReformTheNigerianPolice. The five primary demands tagged #5of5 include:
- Immediate release of all protesters;
- Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families;
- Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days);
- Psychological re-evaluation of all disbanded SARS officials before redeployment and;
- Increase in Police Salary.
The movement so far has made history by hitting 3.32 million tweets, surpassing the number of tweets for #BlackLivesMatter, a similar movement against police brutality in America which equally trended worldwide a while back. Thus, several international bodies and celebrities across the world have recognised the protests with some celebrities including Viola Davies and Trey Songz retweeting the #ENDSARS hashtags in solidarity.