#EndSARS: We don’t trust Nigerian government reforms- Protesters
The nationwide #EndSARS protests have continued to yield dividends with the Nigerian Government working to meet the demands of the protesters.
Findings have shown that the Federal Government has met most of the demands of the protesting Nigerian youths especially the earlier five-point demand.
However, our investigations showed that the youths still do not trust the government. Most of the respondents to Political Economist inquiries said they no trust the Nigerian government and the various committees it has set up to address their complaints.
Some said the quick renaming of SARS to SWAT makes them suspicious of the sincerity of the Nigerian government.
“It does not show good faith that within 24 hours of disbanding SARS, they gave us SWAT. Is that reformation or naming ceremony? We don’t trust Nigerian government. Trust is the issue here, so we march on,” says Segun Oladimeji, a university graduate and Uber driver who joined the protesters at Maryland area of Lagos.
Other respondents also echoed their lack of trust in the government. A particular placard bore the message: “From SARS to SWAT: We’re no kids,” an obvious allusion to what they considered lack of sincerity on the part of government.
The protesters’ demand include the immediate release of those arrested and justice for victims of police brutality.
The protesters are also calling for the setting up of an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct.
They are calling for psychological evaluation and retraining of all disbanded SARS officers before redeployment. The anti-SARS protesters also demand for increase in salary of police officers.
To meet the demands of the protesters, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu on Oct. 11, dissolved the SARS outfits across the country and FCT.
President Muhammadu Buhari, while addressing the nation on Oct. 12, said the dissolution of SARS was the first step in reform of the police.
The IGP on Oct. 13 also ordered all defunct SARS operatives to report at the Force Headquarters for debriefing as well as psychological and medical examination.
The examination is to be carried out by the new Police Counselling and Support Unit (PCSU).
The National Economic Council on Oct. 15, directed the immediate establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality.
The panels which include representatives of youths, students and civil society organisations, are to be headed by a respected retired state High Court judge.
The panels have six months to complete their assignments.
NEC directed governors and the FCT minister to take charge of the interface and contact with protesters in their domains.
The governors are also to immediately establish a victims Fund to facilitate the payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims.
However, the protesters have added fresh demands to their list.
These include institutional reforms in Federal Government organisations, education reforms, youth development reforms and constitutional reforms.
Others are public office reforms, health reforms as well as reduction in cost of governance.