Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has, after a meeting with stakeholders, agreed to meet demands of #EndSARS protesters, which include halting use of force against the protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
The meeting was conducted following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari on the dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad and as an immediate response to yearnings of citizens.
According to the statement signed by Mr Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity on Tuesday, the meeting, organised by Office of Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and #EndSARS movement and development partners.
Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed the five-point demands of the protesters and the #EndSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by government.
A communiqué of the stakeholders’ meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of Presidential Panel on the Reform of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) reads:
“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.
“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The Forum was addressed by Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission.
“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by Inspector General of Police; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and executive secretary of National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, the forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of Special Anti-Robbery Squad jointly authored by National Human Rights Commission, Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.
“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of SARS.
“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by defunct SARS and other segments of Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.
“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’
The communiqué also stated that sub-committees will be supported by National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.