#EndSARS: IGP warns officers against use of force on protesters as UK group calls for his sack


The inspector-general of police, Mohammed Adamu, has warned officers across Nigeria to desist from using force against peaceful protesters.

For more than one week, protesters have demonstrated against police brutality and extrajudicial killings by operatives of the now disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

However, there have been cases of protesters being assaulted by officers, and policemen firing live rounds.

In a statement signed by Frank Mba, the police public relations officer (PPRO), on Thursday, the IGP warned against the use of force.

Adamu, who noted that citizens have the right to demonstrate peacefully, appealed to activists not to allow criminal elements to hijack the protest.

“The inspector-general of police, M.A. Adamu, has warned all Police Officers across the country against the use of force on peaceful protesters,” the statement read.

“The IGP notes that citizens have fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly and movement which must always be upheld and protected by the police.

“The IGP, however, appeals to protesters to continually conduct themselves peacefully and guide their ranks against infiltration by criminal elements.

“The IGP stresses that the Force leadership has clearly heard the voice of the people and is irrevocably committed to doing everything within its powers to address the observed ills, punish any offending officers and promote a people-friendly police force.”

Meanwhile, a group of Nigerian professionals in the United Kingdom, Fatherland has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the police boss.

In a statement by Dele Ogun, its president, Fatherland called for a comprehensive, citizen-led reform of policing arrangements in the country to give the people proper protection from criminals “in or out of uniform”.

He said the youths have made it clear that they will not tolerate being treated less than citizens by their own government.

He condemned the attacks on protesters by police operatives “and their hired thugs intended to deprive citizens of their right to hold peaceful protests”.

“The IG should have resigned. There is a stream of innocent blood flowing across the land under his feet. The proper thing is for him to quit. If he fails, he should be sacked,” Ogun said.

“It is in this same spirit of defending their fundamental rights to human dignity that they have joined others across the world as part of the worldwide Black Lives Matters movement.”

Ogun said the events of the last week have shown that the relationship of trust and confidence that needs to exist between citizens, communities and security agencies has completely broken down.

“This is especially poignant and troubling, against the backdrop of President Buhari’s Independence Day address, in which he called for the citizenry to support the government by providing the necessary community-level intelligence,” he said.

The group also expressed concern about reports that the Buhari-led administration has, repeatedly, been making public announcements of the disbandment of SARS units without any meaningful action taken and “only to allow them to resurface each time”.

Listing some of the victims of SARS, the group said citizens should not become mere statistics but that the government must ensure the delivery of justice for them.

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