Gunshots and violence yesterday greeted protests and campaigns which entered its second day in various cities across the country calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police Force over alleged harassment and extrajudicial killing of the citizens.
The protest had on Thursday claimed the life of a police officer in Ughelli, Delta state.
Several celebrities took to the streets leading the protesters on the first day of the protest.
Two music stars, Falz and Runtown led the protest in Lekki alongside other young Nigerians on Thursday calling for outright ban of SARS while Mr Macaroni and other youths staged an overnight protest at the Lagos State House of Assembly in Alausa, Ikeja, as the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, summoned an emergency meeting of the house amid the continued protests.
The protesters then reconvened in Alausa on Friday to continue the protest even as the Lagos Assembly demanded the proscription of the FSARS, and the introduction of a new and well-structured security outfit in its place. Many other states including Delta, Osun, Imo, Oyo have also witnessed demonstrations, as calls for an end to the activities of the police unit gathered momentum.
On day two, the protest in Lagos which was led by Runtown and Falz, spread to Lagos/Ibadan Expressway with road users being compelled to join the protest which was almost hijacked by street urchins. The protest also moved to other areas of Lagos metropolis like Agege, Iyana-Ipaja, Ikeja and Abule-Egba.
One of the co-conveners of the protest, Comrade Gbenga Komolafe said, “#ENDSARS movement is a protest of all poor working people and youth against the atrocious brutality and wanton extortion the so-called SARS have become renowned for.
Today, self mobilized young people who are the worst victims of the SARS atrocities are out. We join voices with others to demand that the SARS be scrapped immediately while a better trained outfit put in its place, if necessary.
So many innocent people have fallen victims of the so called SARS operatives’ atrocities over time and this is not the first time there would be a popular clamour for its scrapping but the Police authorities have always come out with spurious ‘reform’ programs that hardly have changed nothing over time,”
While calling for the proscription of FSARS and the introduction of a new and well-structured security outfit in its place, the Lagos State House of Assembly also called on the Commissioner of Police, CP, in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, to provide protection for the protesters as they expressed their grievances.
In its seven-point resolution after an extensive deliberation, Lagos Assembly asked the Senate and the House of Representatives to carry out a probe of the allegations against F-SARS including killing, maiming and dehumanising of Nigerians.
Part of the resolution read: “The Commissioner of Police Lagos State should protect End-SARS Protesters in the state and ensure that they are not molested.
“The Commissioner of Police should stop unwarranted molestation of our youths by the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad otherwise known as F-SARS and its counterparts in the State.
“The Senate President and the Speaker of National Assembly should institute public enquiry on the extra judicial activities, killings, maiming and dehumanization of our youths by the Anti- Robbery Squad; ensure that the victims are duly compensated while erring officers sanctioned appropriately
“SARS be proscribed and a new security outfit which will be more efficient with clearly spelt out code of conduct and rule of engagements be established while sanction is imposed for misdemeanor.
“Mr. President to ensure that culpable officials of SARS receive the punishment as prescribed by the National Assembly.
“Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Public Petitions liaise with the Commissioner of Police and Attorney General of the State to fashion out ways and means to address allegations of ruthlessness and extra judicial killings contained in the petition against SARS in the state.
“The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu engage relevant institutions to protect lives and property in the state such that phones, laptops and other means of communication belonging to youths are not confiscated indiscriminately without warrant.”
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