Sanwo-Olu, Obiano are singing the songs #EndSARS protesters want to hear, but we are not there yet

Who would have known that it will take 7 whole days before forces in government places begin to take action? But, today is the 8th day and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is dragging his feet on actual reforms. He probably thinks the #EndSARS movement is another 2020 joke.

IGP Adamu first waited four whole days before he announced October 11 that the deadly Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has been disbanded.

The IGP, while noting that the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, observes that by this dissolution, all officers and men of the now-defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect,” the statement signed by DCP, Frank Mba, read.

But, we all know how far press statements go, especially when you realise that there’s a plan to replace SARS with another special unit, Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), who are supposed to continue the ‘good work’ SARS has been doing for years.

In the published statement, the IG said their mandates include:

  1. Response to robbery attacks.
  2. Response to scenes of weapons-related crimes.
  3. Rescue operations.
  4. Special operations involving high-profile criminals.

The IGP also disclosed a new training schedule, which will take place from October 18 to November 7, 2020, at the PMF Training College, Ila- Oragun, Osun for personnel of the newly formed SWAT unit.

Then, you realise that the SARS officers who have reportedly killed more innocent Nigerians than armed robbers are still in the Police force. The plan is to reintegrate them into other Police units, so they continue from where they stopped.

The IG failed to realise that the peaceful protests that have spread across the country and beyond is not just about dismantling SARS, it is also about justice for victims killed for just being citizens.

The IG also wants us to forget innocent peaceful protesters who have been killed for demanding police accountability, an end to indiscriminate killings, brutality and organised extortion.

He wants us to turn our faces away from the fact that the Police is in deep systemic failure and disbanding SARS is just one step away from the demands of the #EndSARS movement.

However, we are seeing efforts.

The Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has promised today that the four officers,

Inspector Bagou Michael;

Inspector Ekpoudom Etop;

Sgt Nnamdi Majura and

Sgt. Akinyemi Benson, who molested a fellow Nigerian peaceful protester will be brought to book.

All the erring officers involved have been arrested; Inspector Bagou Michael; Inspector Ekpoudom Etop; Sgt Nnamdi Majura and Sgt. Akinyemi Benson and they are facing an orderly room trial immediately.

We have also set up a panel to look into all cases of police brutality and fatality and have set up a N200m compensation fund. I will make all announcements shortly. Once again, I apologise to any protester that has faced brutality during any of the protests days.”

In another series of tweets, the governor mentioned that a panel has been set up for victims of SARS,

“We have set up a 7 man panel that will ensure that all those with verifiable cases of SARS brutality or fatality receive compensation. The Panel will be chaired by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi.

“Other members are Mr Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN (representing the Civil Society); Rtd. DIG Taiwo Lakanu (a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police); Ms Patience Udoh (representing the Civil Society); Mr Segun Awosanya (Human Rights Activist), Mrs Olutoyin Odusanya (Director, Citizens Mediation Center); as well as a rep/member of the youth-led protest and a representative of the Human Rights Commission.”

In another development, Anambra governor, Willie Obiano Thursday, said he has sacked James Nwafor as his senior special assistant on security.

Obiano announced Nwafor’s sack when he spoke with youth protesting against police brutality in Anambra.

The governor also mentioned that a panel has been set up to review cases of SARS brutality and killing.

Interesting how it took protests for calls to stop police brutality to be listened to. More interesting how governors, who are usually asked to help stop the killings, are now attentive because the conversation is now bigger than social media.

We will see how this plays out.

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